What else can you say about youth violence? Here’s a workshop for you

Nine-year-old Ivan Burns Jr. goes out with his dad to walk their dog. It is early morning. Warm night. Bullets fly. They hit the youngster seemingly protected in his fenced-in backyard.

He is admitted in critical condition at the hospital.

Gun violence in not rare on the streets where the nine-year-old lives, according to a story by the Sun-Times. The article said there have been 114 weapons related crimes committed in the last year within a half-mile radius of the Roseland street where Ivan Burns Jr. lives. Among them were four homicides, and 29 aggravated batteries.

Now, what else do you need to say in your story? Tomorrow? Next Week?

Some neighbors, according to a Tribune story, think more police on the streets would cut the violence. Would it? Would it make a short-term difference but nothing would change in the long-run? Is that how you follow the story?

Some alderman think we need an early curfew for youngsters. Would that make a difference?

Why am I asking about solutions?

Because we can capture the drama of this violence very well and we’ve done this for a very long time, but do we do as a good a job in telling people about solutions?

And isn’t that part of our jobs as journalists? Aren’t we supposed to shift through the facts and forces in lives and tell our readers and listeners what this all comes to and what options they might consider.

Here’s a chance to work on doing that..

We are holding a workshop on covering youth violence on Saturday, August 6th from 9 am to noon at the National Museum of Mexican Art in Pilsen.

The workshop will include a panel of experts talking about ways to enhance, sharpen and deepen  your coverage. One of them the speakers will be Natalie Moore, the head of WBEZ’s South Side bureau. She is co-author of “Deconstructing Tyrone: A New Look at Black Masculinity in the Hip-Hop Generation.” And of “Almighty Black P Stone Nation: The Rise, Fall and Resurgence of an American Gang.”  There will also be a speaker from CeaseFire, a unique anti-violence program that has expanded its work far beyond Chicago.Next we’ll interview folks from an innovative program that deals with youth violence.  And lastly we’ll revert into a working newsroom, where’ll discuss how we might write our stories about the day’s interviews, how we might provide more depth to breaking news stories, and what stories we might want to plan for down the road. Additional speakers TBAREGISTER TODAY!sign up here:


This free training session is supported by grants from the Field and McCormick Foundations. It is part of the We Are Not Alone – No Estamos Solos campaign to tell a different story about youth violence. The effort is led by the Community Media Workshop and the Back of the Yards Council.

Questions? Call Steve Franklin, ethnic news media project director, the Community Media Workshop, 312 369 7782 or cell – 773 595 8667



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