Scanning the pubmediaverse in D.C., there’s a lot to choose from (the inverse of the Delaware experience). Jazz and classical stations, original reporting on public radio, several nonprofit news startups. Today, here’s what caught my eye:
DCentric is a blog produced by WAMU. It’s also a drumbeat of civil, thoughtful and provocative writing about race. Unshockingly, the blog came out of the Argo Project, and it looks like it’s continuing after the wrapup of NPR’s official Argo push. The blogger behind DCentric is Elahe Izade.
Recently Izade’s been writing about a survey showing that waiters discriminate against Black customers, Asian shopkeepers and the economics of improving corner stores, and a distressing health care trend: doctors are both less likely to prescribe antidepressants to minorities AND less likely to prescribe newer antidepressant options to patients on Medicare or Medicaid.
On WETA's website, a promo teases, “Which Downton character are you?” It's a Downton Abbey personality quiz! </clap hands>. Quizzes like this are more a Seventeen, Maxim, or Ladies' Home Journal flavor than what I'd expect to find on a public tv website. I love Downton, and I'm a sucker for those quizzes, so I had to check it out. Apparently, I'm Robert, Earl of Grantham. Who knew? Here’s the link.
(What I can’t tell from the quiz is if WETA or PBS or Masterpiece made the quiz…. no matter the answer, it’s a light fun touch and so easy to produce. Nice to see in the mix.)
And then there’s Homicide Watch D.C., an innovative foray into beat coverage provided by a bootstrapped service (two people in this case!) for an entire metro area, filling a gap left wide open by newspapers and other mainstream news orgs. The site doggedly covers Every. Single. Homicide. Victim. And they cover the shit out of it. Every victim gets a page (this is Ronald James Bryant’s page) — including a map of where they were killed, their name/age/ethnicity, details on the detectives assigned to the case, religious updates on their case, and comments about them and their case pulled from social media.
"Breaking with the tradition of crime reporting, Amico says she rarely visits crime scenes, instead relying on the Internet. “It’s just not necessary for me [because] within an hour of a fatal shooting, I can find a dozen people talking about it on Twitter,” she says. “They’ll post a memorial photo. I can get more from knowing what to search online than going to a crime scene.” In some cases, Amico has been able to identify crimes that haven’t been reported yet by trolling social media sites."
— from Maura O’Connor’s review of Homicide Watch DC on CJR’s Guide to Online News Startups
Even if you don’t live in DC — maybe especially if you don’t live in DC — you should check it out. It’s public media, filling a gap and providing an important public service. Tell that to Congress.