A Street, A City, Violence and A Story That Needs to Be Woven

photo by Carlos Javier Ortiz

A 16-year-old dies after he was shot in the chest in the South Shore neighborhood Saturday. He was one of three killed and at least another 21 people shot throughout Chicago over the weekend, reports the Sun-Times.

Police say they were looking into the possibility that the boy’s death is connected to a shooting that took place down the street and wounded two men on Thursday night, the newspaper tells us.

So, it’s a story about a street, right?

A story about how violence stains one street and the misfortune it brings to witnesses and passersby and those trapped in its realm.

That’s one way to make the story real.

But does it lose anything when it is so focused, so narrow, so driven by the things we see in front of us.

I think it can be.

Putting a human face is what we journalists prefer. It creates drama and complexities and gives a life to our reporting. But there’s a danger in focusing only on individuals without stepping back to tell our audiences about why this story is taking place. By focusing only on individuals, we nurture the sense of personal failure and of the victims doing wrong again. There are reasons why crime persists in poor and isolated communities. They are complex and they call upon us to do our best to explain these forces.

Here’s a report which looks at the impact of reporting on violence and the impact of the styles and strategies that journalist use to tell these stories:

We will be talking about this at a June 28th meeting bringing together Chicago’s news media and organizations dealing with youth violence.

More than 30 organizations or facilities are taking part in this unprecedented effort to help Chicago’s news media tell the whole story about youth violence.

At this meeting, you will

• Meet community activists, healthcare professionals, and public officials in speed interviews that will give you with a view of the work of some of those most involved in coping with youth violence here.

• Begin your use of a resource list of dozens of Chicago-area contacts and experts who can help shape your reporting on youth violence.

• Gain insight in reporting on youth violence from a reporting guide that will help your coverage go beyond covering yesterday’s tragedy.

WBEZ reporter and South Side bureau chief Natalie Moore is the moderator for our event.

Our goal is to help Chicago’s news media tell the whole story about youth violence, and to know where and how to get the information from those closest to what’s happening.

Where: 33 East Congress, first floor, Columbia College, journalism building (Congress and Wabash) CTA bus and train stops are nearby. Link here for a map: http://mapq.st/LzUNYs

Time: 9 am to 11:30 am

Please click here to let us know you are joining us:



Contacts: Stephen Franklin, Community Media Workshop, office – 312 369 7782, cell – 773 595 8667, steve@chicagoistheworld.org or


Rebecca Levin, MPH

Strategic Director, Injury Prevention and Research Center

Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago

T 312.227.6948 | F 312.227.9475 | rlevin@luriechildrens.orgSchoolsOutPeaceMarchJune152012_flyer

This is a joint effort of the Community Media Workshop’s We Are Not Alone/No Estamos Solos project on youth violence and Strengthening Chicago’s Youth, an anti-violence campaign anchored at Children’s Memorial Hospital.





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