Lisa Loving, interim Evening News and Public Affairs Director at Pacifica Network Member: KBOO Community Radio in Portland, OR, published the book Street Journalist: Understand and Report the News In Your Community, on May 10, 2019. She sat down with us recently to explain the inspiration behind creating a handbook about local news gathering.
The expertise Loving shares comes from 41 years of community media experience in training lay people in journalism. She felt it was time to empower others with a hands-on manual for how to report local news. Whether you are a teenager, retired, a school-teacher, a baker, or simply wanting to brush up on your journalism skills, a copy of Street Journalist: Understand and Report the News In Your Community is available to you today through Microcosm Publishing.
“They don’t have degrees but they have dreams and they have skills.”Lisa Loving says of her volunteers
Inspired by her volunteers, Lisa began writing Street Journalist three years ago. It’s people like the night baker at Pearl Cafe who became a spokesperson for berries, or a cook who’s passionate about what’s happening in congress; every day people who show up at the station energized about reporting.
Throughout the 11 chapters of Street Journalist, Lisa provides a down-to-earth depiction of the different styles of reporting, what constitutes a story, fake news, fact checking, creating your voice, and how anyone, anywhere can start reporting today!
When asked: If readers took one thing to heart, what would that be, she replies, “the concept of heuristics; trapdoors in our brains that make it possible for us to be duped by fake news. Understanding what information is, how to track it to its source, and understanding our brains are constructed to take in fake news as if it’s real.”
Lisa impresses that what’s real and what isn’t has become even more important as news rooms continue to shrink and along with them the amount of information available to people in their own communities.
The sparks that drew Lisa into journalism goes back to 4th grade, when she had a teacher who had been in the Peace Corps and one day ranted about Watergate in front of the classroom and how important reporting is. That was the first time Lisa had heard anyone speak passionately about being a reporter. Lisa’s other inspiration around that time was fictional character: Louis Lane from DC Comics’ Superman; Lisa knew from those early moments in elementary school she wanted to become a reporter.
What truly galvanized and shifted Lisa’s career was when she covered a difficult story over an elderly African-American woman, who while doing her job as executive director of Loaves and Fishes, was pulled over by a Portland police officer and put into a headlock after she demanded to know why he pulled her over to begin with. In what could have been charged as an assault towards the woman, instead was found in the officer’s favor, resulting in her having to pay the legal fees and losing everything.
“The news isn’t always good.”
This story helped Lisa to discover one of her missions, which is to find what she calls the “touchstones: individual human beings who are connected through their history and share issues she would never experience as a white person and tell their truth.”
Learn to find the touchstones and become a reporter in your community through Loving’s book Street Journalist: Understand and Report the News In Your Community, available in paperback or as an Ebook.