Wick Communications

Posts Tagged ‘Immigrants’

Editorial project idea No. 4

In Photography on 3 Mar 2017 at 9:07 am


As you know, immigration is a hot topic. The spectrum of public opinion ranges from throw the bums out to complete amnesty for those who crossed our border illegally.

Though many of our newsrooms are in communities with many undocumented immigrants, some of us struggle with covering that segment of our community. Sometimes it is a language barrier. Sometimes people who are here illegally don’t see the wisdom in advertising that in the local newspaper. Sometimes, I suspect, we merely have a cultural divide.

I’ve been thinking of ways we might bridge that gap and satisfy our call for a new editorial project in the second quarter of 2017. I have an idea: What if you gave a few immigrants disposable cameras for a week and then used the results as a basis for a feature story or a string of Instagram posts or a once-a-day Facebook post?

Doing so would solve a couple of problems. It would bring home a national story. It would put a face on people you might not be covering well. It would add photos to your newspaper. It would attract the participants (and their friends and relatives) to your paper. It might even give you ideas for more stories down the road. … Read the rest of this entry »


Editorial project idea No. 1

In Ideas on 16 Feb 2017 at 6:33 pm


They say there is nothing new under the sun and all the best ideas are cribbed from somewhere else. Or are at least incremental.

Well, here is a story form that I stole fair and square from one of my favorite news sources, Reveal. It’s the idea of news reporting via Instagram. Reveal rolled out a story on the inequity of plea deals in the courts through 21 beautifully rendered Instagram posts. Look for yourself. It’s just freaking awesome. It is stunning reporting, visually amazing and ready made for viral sharing.

Did it work? Heck, I don’t know. Looks like most of the Reveal posts got a fewer than 200 likes and not too much commentary. But then the best of what we do has not always gotten the notice it deserves.

I decided to try something sort of like this and I was smart enough to enlist the help of Half Moon Bay Review photographer John Green. His Instagram images are always a treat and sometimes very widely appreciated in the community. I asked him to run around town on Thursday, which was widely observed in our community and elsewhere as “A Day Without Immigrants.” Many local restaurants were closed in solidarity or because they simply didn’t have enough workers if enough of them observed the day off. I asked him to take square Instagram images that captured a closed restaurant. Which is a weird assignment.

The result was an interesting photo story that he parlayed into a series of filtered shots. Just simple images from Coastside favorites that were closed for the day. This story is the talk of the town today in Half Moon Bay and we helped propel it. … Read the rest of this entry »

Bridging the language gap

In Writing techniques on 2 Dec 2011 at 9:33 am

We are often called upon to interview people who don’t communicate well in English. Contrary to popular perception, I wouldn’t necessarily say that American journalists are asked to bridge this gap any more often now than they were a generation or two ago; we have always been a nation of immigrants.

I think this is a significant issue at all of our newspapers. Let’s face it: It’s just easier to interview someone who speaks our language, both literally and figuratively. It’s easier to talk to someone who grew up in like circumstances. We recognize unspoken truths in such sources because we recognize those same truths in ourselves.

I would probably be more at home interviewing a 48-year-old white guy from the suburbs than I would a 23-year-old Hmong refugee from Laos.

The sad result is that we read a lot more about people who look a lot like our writers than we do about the rainbow of others who live in our world. That is a shame and a missed opportunity as today’s immigrant communities are alive with journalistic possibility.

Recently, Phuong Ly wrote a very valuable list of tips for reporters wishing to connect with minority communities. If you do nothing else today, I hope it is to open this link and read. Ly is a former Charlotte Observer and Washington Post reporter and Stanford Knight Fellow. … Read the rest of this entry »