Monday, April 30, 2012

I have been working on three stories for the last three weeks. I got myself into this pickle by starting a new one every time I hit a roadblock, now it looks like I may be able to finish all three of them.

the first piece is about BNSF railway and their proposed SCIG yard. although this is out of our jurisdiction I've already done quite a bit of work on it and would at least like to finish a text piece about it. I've interviewed the media representative for the company, and John Cross the president of the WLB Neighborhood association, and I have plans to interview the head of the labor union that BNSF has contracted the construction task to.

The second piece is the one I've had most luck with as far as cooperation.

I've set up an interview with  local artist Doug Kurtz, who works with autistic children and paints murals for the city of Long Beach. He is currently dedicated to a project he is very passionate about, building a home for autistic children that focuses on art-therapy and art-education. He swears by the power that different forms of expression have to break through to some children in the treatment of autism. I plan to connect this story to the city by interviewing him, one of his kids, and a member of city government that can speak to the issue. this will likely  be my video piece.

The last piece is in my opinion the most important piece I've been working on, but also the one with which I've had the most problems. There is an initiative on the city government minutes that seeks to create a universal language access policy for different departments in city government. The proposal by council members Andrews and Neal was passed, and several non-profits were charged with drafting proposed changes in policy, and a strategy to implement this access. However, the draft of proposed changes has not returned yet, and as such, many people in city government are unwilling to talk to me about the item, as they feel I am trying to affect the council's decision. I also am in the process of setting up a Spanish interview with a woman who says that for her association, the language barrier is the main obstacle to creating the kind of change she and her peers are pushing for. I am positioned to cover this story from both sides, but for lack of cooperation, nothing has happened with it yet.

I've contacted the press person for the city, as well as forwarded an email through a neighborhood resource center in the hopes that the people at the city-level will consent soon to letting me interview employees at the neighborhood resource center 2 blocks from my house, and councilman Dee Andrews who was one of the authors of the proposal.

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