eLECTIONS sTORY... (New Title)
Every election cycle, we see time and time again that, in spite of candidates’ never ending campaigning, there are particular communities whose issues have gone unnoticed or ignored by the mainstream media, and the same can be said for the issues these communities are facing. Our goal is to reach out to members of these communities with the intention of cultivating an ongoing relationship with them, and giving them the opportunity to share their stories. We also want to ask them what issues they are facing, as well as what they want the politicians to do about it. We have multiple teams working for us, each covering a different disenfranchised community, such as houseless people, incarcerated individuals, the Latino community as well as the LGBTQ+ community. We are also covering those that are or will soon be victims of the effects of climate change. In addition, these teams have spread their coverage out across the state of Rhode Island, including Providence, Warren and Pawtucket. What makes us unique is that our prime focus is on what is referred to as “solutions based journalism,” in which we center the story around solutions to the problems raised by the local residents rather than just the problem itself. You might be asking yourself, “why does it matter now?” The answer comes in the form of a date: September 15. Democracy Day. Democracy Day is an internationally celebrated holiday that is meant to promote and support democracy across the world, and we are celebrating this holiday by giving those who are routinely ignored by mainstream media, as well as the politicians who are supposed to listen to them, the opportunity to let their voices be heard. We hope that these stories will make the candidates aware of the fact that they have let these communities down, and now they have the platform to speak about what it is they want from them. However, this is by no means a short term project. This first story is only our first step in a process that takes place over the next several months. We have started with introducing ourselves to the communities, and making them feel comfortable sharing their stories with us. Once we have published our first story, we will be going back to those communities with a better understanding of the problems they are facing. With local and state elections drawing near, we will be asking residents what they want from the candidates, and at the same time, we will make the candidates themselves aware of the fact that these communities are being overlooked. Then, once the elections have come and gone and we possibly have newly elected officials, we will be able to work with them on a more direct level and let them know that these communities want answers.