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About the Keeping the Peace workshop

The state of police and community relations is a critical issue today.

This two-day workshop armed journalists with facts, analyses and reporting strategies to make their reporting matter. Scholars and experts from across the United States covered issues ranging from race and community relations and police strategies to control violence to police accountability and the mental health challenges police officers face, on and off the job. To get a better sense of the work, click here for a video about the workshop.

We also visited Chicago neighborhoods confronted by the contagion of violence to hear about the challenges and successes faced there. “We’re trying to move the dime on police reporting,” said Susy Schultz, a veteran journalist, and president of Public Narrative. “To really make sure we look at race and get the other voices from the community and the police, not just the voices of power.”

The workshop, held April 23 through April 25, 2015, welcomed journalists of diverse races, genders, and ages to Chicago, including journalists from mainstream, community and ethnic news media and all media platforms, as well as academics and college professors. It was held at Columbia College Chicago.



Below are four stories on the event.

Journalists discuss covering race and police

By Dimitrios Kalantzis

By the time the 20 working journalists from across the country, and all types of media converged in Chicago for a marathon 20-hour, two-day workshop on covering police, race, and community, Freddie Gray was already dead. The 25-year-old Baltimore man’s death while in police custody on April 19 would spark yet another protest — and riot — in an American city. But not just yet. So it was almost prescient that the workshop opened April 23 with an introduction by Peter Moskos, an associate professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, who began his research by becoming a beat cop for the Baltimore Police Department. Read more…

In Back of the Yards, there is more than gang violence

By Dimitrios Kalantzis

Standing in front of a buffet of chicken and beef, corn tortillas and Spanish rice, Joe was filling up his plate. Someone asked him how old he was. “I just made 18,” he said. It was a curious way of phrasing it. Except Joe is from Chicago’s Back of the Yard’s neighborhood, a tough neighborhood on the city’s South Side, just south of Bridgeport, just north of Englewood. It’s split by a rail line separating the Hispanic and black populations and has suffered from gun violence in much the way many other communities on Chicago’s West and South sides have. Making it to 18, Joe explained later to a group of reporters, is worth noting. Read more…

How people see the media

By Dimitrios Kalantzis

If there was a consensus from those who attended the McCormick Foundation Specialized Reporting Institute on race, community and police, it was that many of the key players are leery and suspect there is bias in the media. Read more…

Reporting on (and around) the police

By Dimitrios Kalantzis

Crime reporting, like any other beat, has fundamentals. You work your sources, every week, not just for breaking news stories, but for trend stories that tell a truth that often escapes the blotter. “It’s time, investment of time,” said Robert Salonga, a reporter for the San Jose Mercury News. “And you have to prove over time that you’ll abide by your word.” Read more…