How Canopy Atlanta covers the Eastside community, and how it will continue to do so
While the South DeKalb issue is technically a wrap, Canopy Atlanta’s coverage of the Eastside neighborhood has only just begun.
After Canopy Atlanta’s Community Engagement Team asked over 55 South DeKalb community members about the journalism they needed, and then formed a Community Editorial Board to further discuss potential topics, landing on just a select few story ideas was challenging. After all, aside from coverage surrounding the police training facility that critics call “Cop City,” coverage surrounding the thriving neighborhood had been sorely lacking.
During one of three CEB meetings, I asked members when they first noticed that housing in South DeKalb was becoming less affordable. Whether that was Jamye Barnes scoping out a $600,000 house on Columbia Drive, or Amiri Banks noticing that his family are the only residents on their street who own their home, those stories alone could have made for an entire Community Issue.
Plus, for as many challenges South DeKalb faces today, community listening made it clear that celebrating their neighborhood was just as important to explore. And there’s a lot to celebrate in South DeKalb, whether its parks, its history of legacy residents, or business owners eager to continue serving their community.
For now, CA has either published or co-published six incredible stories, plus a map of community assets and a list of community resources, that answers directly to the input we received. And in the coming days, in collaboration with Reckon News, South DeKalb Fellow Dominique Harris will explore the disconnect that he and CA found, between the “Cop City” that has been making headlines and some of the residents who will directly be affected by it.
But, as we have for West End, Forest Park, and Bankhead/Grove Park, we intend to continue covering South DeKalb in the future.
A top priority would be crime, a top issue that South DeKalb residents wanted to learn more of in its coverage. The Community Issue’s stories also point to developments just on the horizon that deserve further coverage: a new data entry system that county officials hope will reduce a backlog of code violations, redeveloped dollar store locations offering more fresh food. More than ever concerning South DeKalb, CA isn’t just interested in the issues, but the residents answering directly to their concerns.
CA doesn’t have to be alone in reporting these stories, either. Other media outlets covering metro Atlanta should consider this closing note to be a call to action: The more that the local journalism ecosystem at large can answer directly to community concerns, the better.
— Christina Lee, Editor of the South DeKalb Issue
Editor: Mariann Martin
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