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D&C Engages Rochesterians In Exploring Answers



The Democrat and Chronicle has a rich history of organizing community discussions.

Such events presenting multiple perspectives on the pressing issues facing Rochester and County Monroe have taken place in schools, community centers and in our own building.

The coronavirus pandemic has unfortunately suspended such in-person gatherings. What has since emerged has been a series of video chat discussions involving Rochesterians on a variety of relevant topics since early 2020.

Over the past month or so, the D&C has hosted two of these virtual sessions, one on Focus on Care Needs in Rochester and one on Streamyard launching a new project we are calling Revisiting the Rochester Narrative.

Finding solutions on caregiving, racial disparities and other topics

The Democrat and Chronicle hosted a Zoom forum on May 29, 2021 on caregiving in communities of color in western New York.  The chat was sponsored by the New York and Michigan Solutions Journalism Collaborative funded by the Solutions Journalism Network.  Pictured, from top to bottom, D&C editor-in-chief Michael Kilian, D&C reporter Natalia Rodríguez Medina, University of Rochester associate professor of psychiatry Carol Podgorski, Canopy of Neighbors executive director Sasha Yerkovich and Minority Reporter reporter Tyronda James.

A common thread here is that both efforts reflect our continued association with the Solutions Journalism Network, a nonprofit organization whose mission includes the promotion of “rigorous reporting on responses to social issues.”

the declared mission of the group: “We seek to rebalance current events, so that every day people are exposed to stories that help them understand issues and challenges, and to stories that show potential ways to respond. “

The D&C is looking to incorporate more solution-focused reporting into our coverage matrix for the simple reason that polls clearly show readers want to read more than just the latest wave of bad news.

It is important to many of us that places like Rochester find a productive path forward to address the social, economic and environmental problems that seem to persist without constructive action. It is not enough to simply point out that there was another shooting in Rochester; what is or could be done to make our neighborhoods safer and provide avenues for conflict resolution that do not involve violence?

In the fall of 2019, the D&C received its first Solutions Journalism Network scholarship. This supported our examination of possible solutions to family care in communities of color, which disproportionately face the burden of unmet care needs in America.

This effort led to several solution-oriented stories, with more to come soon.

It has also led the D&C to partner with WHEC-TV, The Minority Reporter, WXXI and other news organizations in western New York and more recently in Michigan to take a closer look at delivery solutions. care.

We are delighted to contribute to what is now a great collaboration radio stations, television stations, online news sources, newspapers and trade publications. The leader of the New York and Michigan Solutions Journalism Collaborative is former D&C editor-in-chief Karen Magnuson, whose commitment to fostering community and regional discussion about care delivery solutions is unmatched.

After:Boost for UDAs as healthcare needs increase in Rochester

After:How a Latino caregiver support program uncovered a new wave of patients

After:Are “villages” the future of care for the elderly?

Cat night, months and months of coverage options

As part of this ongoing effort, we hosted a Zoom Discussion on May 19 in conjunction with The Minority Reporter and WHEC, which reporters Tyronda James and Deanna Dewberry, respectively, participated in with Natalia Rodríguez Medina of D&C.

A number of healthcare experts, including Licensed Practical Nurse Jenny Thomas, University of Rochester Professor of Psychiatry Carol Podgorski, and Sasha Yerkovich, Buffalo Area Canopy of Neighbors Project Leader, have joined. we.

What the conversation highlighted was the number of caregiving issues to be addressed and the number of additional solutions our reporters can review in the months to come.

Families caring for loved ones often do so out of duty, but support is available.

Among the unmet needs

  • The limits of telehealth for people who don’t have Wi-Fi or who have trouble using video chat technology.
  • Language barriers in health centers, especially in specialist areas such as neurology.
  • How stress in caregivers can fuel their own memory problems.
  • How misinformation and mistrust of physicians and healthcare facilities lead to delays in dementia diagnoses.
  • The major hurdle of medical paperwork.
  • How the current shortage of workers in our country also equates to a shortage of caregivers.
  • The isolation and loneliness of caregivers is largely ignored in our society.

The latter is something that deserves to be deepened. Yerkovich described how many volunteers in the care world have stepped forward due to the extent of their own isolation.

Information like this helps explain why news organizations like ours hold community discussions in the first place: we always learn more about the issues in our city and towns that require more reporting from us and more attention. from community organizations, government, businesses, faith communities and individuals.

Review past decisions in Rochester to inform modern choices

The Democrat and Chronicle hosted a Streamyard live chat on the evening of June 24, 2021, to launch its Revisiting the Rochester Narrative project examining how past community decisions in Rochester exacerbated racial disparities and how future decisions could build a stronger community. .  Pictured clockwise from top right are Maryann Batlle, Editor-in-Chief of Emerging Audiences, Caroline Johnson of Cornell University and Marili Vaca of the Rochester Institute of Technology, as well as Matthew Leonard, investigative and special projects editor, Revisiting the Rochester Narrative.

Last week, I wrote in this space We work in partnership with the “Complicating the Story” unit of the Solutions Journalism Network.

Our Mission: To create a body of stories, videos and community discussions that help the massively isolated Greater Rochester find a more equitable path as our region and country becomes increasingly diverse.

After:Revisiting Rochester’s Past Paves The Way For A Better Future

With more than 3 in 10 Monroe County residents who are black, Latino, Asian, or two or more races, our region will not move forward economically if it does not become less segregated and more inclusive.

How can this happen? One way is to look at the key decisions made in the 20th century that brought Greater Rochester to grips with some of the most significant racial segregation and inequality in the United States.

Where a freeway was built or the way realtors demarcated neighborhoods took a toll on black families and individuals and our entire community. Likewise, the way we define 21st century transportation strategies and build affordable housing could lead to fairer outcomes that are more beneficial to Rochester and its surrounding cities – or not.

Michael Kilian is the editor-in-chief of the Democrat and Chronicle and the Gannett State editor-in-chief for New York and Vermont.

So we launched Revisiting the Rochester Narrative last week, building on reports from the past few years, to examine the past and point out possible avenues to follow.

Our Thursday Night Streamyard discussion was produced by News Director Scott Norris and moderated by Investigative and Special Projects Editor Matthew Leonard and Emerging Audience Editor Maryann Batlle. Our two summer fellows on the project, Caroline Johnson of Cornell University and Marili Vaca of RIT, both participated.

Joined the rich discussion:

  • Joan Coles Howard, writer, editor and publisher.
  • Simeon Banister, vice president of community programs, Rochester Community Area Foundation.
  • Maya Crane, Equity Program Officer, Rochester Community Area Foundation.
  • Bruce Barnes, director of the George Eastman Museum.
  • Bret Garwood, CEO of Home Leasing in Rochester.

After:Watch the Revisiting the Rochester Narrative Kickoff Discussion on YouTube

After:D&C to launch Revisiting the Rochester Narrative with live event Thursday

I ran out of space here to properly describe the discussion, so I invite you to watch it on our website, Youtube channel or Facebook page.

Suffice it to say that it is clear that past decisions have had consequences that our community still faces. And therefore, what Rochester’s leaders do here in the 2020s will determine the success of our community in the years and decades to come.

The D&C will continue to host such discussions. To paraphrase the late great philosopher Yogi Berra, who once said that a lot can be learned just by watching, Rochester can learn a lot just by listening to the rich and diverse voices among us.

I promise you this: The D&C team will do their best to serve Greater Rochester and each of our readers every day.

Michael Kilian is editor of the Democrat and Chronicle. Contact him at mkilian@gannett.com.



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