Speak City Heights to amplify resident voices in area news outlets

By Megan Burks

Get ready for the press corps, City Heights! In an effort to strengthen news coverage of City Heights, the California Endowment invested $315,000 in a project called Speak City Heights, a collaboration of KPBS, voiceofsandiego.org, The AjA Project, Media Arts Center San Diego and Mid-City CAN.

The project will send reporters, photographers and videographers into the community to tell stories about the issues that matter most to residents—the policies and patterns that prevent a healthy, safe community and what’s being done about them. Speak City Heights will bring quality journalism to a neighborhood that has long been underrepresented in area news.

“We want to be able to point our microphones not just at podiums, but also toward the people affected by policies,” said Suzanne Marmion, KPBS’s director of news and editorial strategy.

This kind of neighborhood reporting has had real impact: voiceofsandiego.org reporter Adrian Florido’s stories on the bureaucratic hurdles that make it hard to start community gardens helped prompt reform that will make it easier for City Heights residents to grow their own food. Speak City Heights aims to consistently produce this coverage that serves the people who inspire it.

But residents can do more than inspire. The AjA Project and Media Arts Center San Diego will teach area youth how to file their own photo and video reports, which will appear on local news outlets. Speak City Heights will also host community forums to bring together residents and policymakers in a dialogue about changes in the neighborhood. So clear your throats, raise your voices and speak up, City Heights!

Coverage will appear on www.speakcityheights.org, partner websites and on KPBS radio channel 89.5 FM and cable channel 11. Speak City Heights can be contacted at spkcityheights@gmail.com or @spkcityheights on Twitter.

Megan Burks is the Web editor for Speak City Heights. She also writes and produces videos for HealthyCal.org. Her favorite City Heights restaurant is Bale French Sandwich Shop.