Alhambra Source was the subject of a USC Annenberg panel on Tuesday about how hyperlocal journalism can increase civic engagement in diverse communities. I shared the Source's unique approach to local news based on extensive research and knowledge of a community and its needs. Community contributors also spoke about how their participation in the project has increased their awareness of local issues and their sense of overall belonging in Alhambra.
Alhambra Source is part of a new USC Annenberg project the Civic Engagement and Journalism Initiative, which aims to merge research and scholarship with local news. The Source, along with Intersections South L.A and Metamorphosis Project, tries to promote community engagement through journalism.
“Journalism is right now figuring out how best to help people engage in the life of the community, and that’s what this initiative focuses on,” School of Journalism Director Geneva Overholser said. “It’s particularly exciting — and unique, really — that we can bring the talents of scholarly researchers and journalism professional together.”
The Daily Trojan reported on the panel and the importance of sites like Alhambra Source in improving civic engagement:
Prior to launching Alhambra Source, the Western San Gabriel Valley, which includes Alhambra, ranked as having the lowest sense of belonging out of six neighborhoods in the Los Angeles area, according to the Metamorphosis project, which studies urban communities. Civic participation was at an all-time low with the 2010 municipal elections being canceled when no candidate challenged any of the five incumbents up for re-election.
Joanna Wu, a 2007 Annenberg graduate and a member of the Alhambra community, said the news outlet helped reverse the lack of civic engagement.
“Just knowing that Alhambra Source is there makes you more interested in the city, it makes you more proud of it,” Wu said. “With other news sources like Patch, sometimes they just grab news from wherever. But with Alhambra Source, there’s an editor who is researching the news, editing it, checking for accuracy — it is journalism at work.”
We would like to do a similar presentation in Alhambra about our research and plans moving forward. If you're interested, or have questions, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.