Community: What's in a word?
How do you define community? Is it something a group of people have in common -- a shared interest, religion, profession, sexual orientation, or income level? Or do you think of a community as something physical: a neighborhood, a block, a school district? Can you find a sense of community online or does it only really happen face-to-face? Can we choose our communities or are we born into them?
Our host for the community topic this week is Fern Shen, editor and publisher of The Baltimore Brew. Fern will post and review stories, as well as make "picks" on the community page, and I'm eager to see how she'll help us expand our ideas of community on the site.
The Brew is one of several sites in Baltimore helping re-invent community journalism and coverage of communities (check out the "news near you" neighborhoods section for some of this work), and it's a natural fit for a partnership on this topic.
This focus coincides with the Brew's publication this week of a series called "The State of Your Block," a riff on the mayor's and governor's recent annual speeches. Brew editors asked readers and residents to send in reports about their Baltimore City neighborhoods, and writers whose reports are published get a bag of Zeke's coffee and a $50 donation to the charity of their choice.
Additionally, the Maryland Institute College of Art partnered with the Brew on the project, and MICA photography students shot photos of the neighborhoods and residents to accompany some of the pieces.
Take a look at the first State of Your Block, a short piece of prose about an area just north of The Avenue in Hampden, by resident Michael Ter Avest.
Because we're so community-oriented on NewsTrust -- we depend on members like you to contribute to the site and help make it a success -- this is a particularly interesting topic to tackle, and I hope the discussion will be engaging and diverse. We'll post our findings during the week of March 14. Please join the conversation on the site!
Photo credit: Fern Shen, The Baltimore Brew