For the past 10 days, NewsTrust Baltimore has been focusing on stories around the theme of community.
We've found, as we expected, that the word "community" means different things to different people. Are our communities defined by neighborhoods? Values? Race or ethnicity? Profession or socioeconomic status? Some people think of Baltimore is a big city composed of many small towns and communities. We're also seeing that Baltimore's news ecosystem reflects that variety and intimacy.
This week and through the weekend, we'll continue looking at stories about different communities and encourage you to help us find, post, and review articles on the community page.
Sometimes, very local neighborhood worries can reflect much broader, city-wide problems. To get a sense of how independent news sources are bringing light to these "small" community concerns, see this opinion piece from The Baltimore Guide, "When a 311 call becomes a 911 call." Franklin Square resident Scott Kashnow described an all too common problem, illegal dumping and slow City cleanup. In this case, a pile of discarded mattresses turned from an eyesore into a potentially serious fire, despite repeated calls to the City's 311 line.
History helps define communities, and Baltimore's African-American heritage has been in the news. WYPR's Maryland Morning created a multimedia report on Pennsylvania Avenue, a place that is central to Baltimore black history. Once the commercial and recreational heart of segregated black Baltimore, the avenue is now a focus of remembrance (and possible future development). In addition to a broadcast segment, Maryland Morning collected some online resources: striking photographs, helpful links, and some fascinating interview material that didn't make it on air. The NewsTrust Baltimore community responded with a very interesting series of comments. It's a must-read conversation among NewsTrust reviewers.
The fate of Baltimore's communities is connected to regional and global economic forces. As wheelers and dealers far from the city announced (yet another) sale of the Sparrows Point steel mill, Baltimore Brew captured the voices of local steelworkers in a collection of frank comments.
Who leads Baltimore's communities leaders? In January, Baltimore magazine featured its list of the people wielding power in the local scene. In "Power: Who has it. Who's lost it. And how to get it" the magazine presented a compelling portrait of outstanding people in a wide range of fields. The Baltimore Business Journal published their "Power 20: The Next Generation" list in February.
Last week, Urbanite magazine offered another read on Baltimore's powerful. In a collection of stories entitled "Keys to the City" Urbanite profiled six leaders who have "unlocked secrets for making change from the bottom up." Does this list seem more surprising and interesting than Baltimore magazine's? Who's really driving change in Baltimore's communities? How well are our local media covering these individuals and networks of influence? Are the concerns of your community being aired?
As we wind up this week's focus on community, we hope you'll share your thoughts on these questions and more.
Among the stories we're discussing this week:
- Silent No More: Baltimore Jewish Times Executive Editor Phil Jacobs and filmmaker Scott Rosenfelt expose sexual abuse in Baltimore’s Orthodox Jewish community (reviews) - City Paper
- Guilford Reservoir to be Temporarily Drained (reviews) - North Baltimore Patch
- Startup City Poised to Turn Baltimore Into an Entrepreneurial Hub (reviews) - Bmore media
- Maryland nonprofits grow employment by 2% in 2009 (reviews) - Baltimore Business Journal
- Kwei-Armah brings varied background to Center Stage post (reviews) - Baltimore Sun
The NewsTrust community
We like to think of the people who visit NewsTrust Baltimore as an important community of our own. We're grateful for the attention, reviews, and ideas contributed to our project by a diverse range of people. From media partners who have shared their work to young students and ordinary citizens who have brought their perceptive eyes and insights, the NewsTrust Baltimore community is coming together.
If you are not yet a member of NewsTrust Baltimore, please sign up and join the experiment. Your voice is needed and welcome -- the success of this social news experiment depends on the participation of members like you.Thank you again, and see you on the site!