The Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service tells stories that may not receive attention from big media outlets.
On Wednesday, our JOUR 1550 class had the privilege to meet with Sharon McGowan
, the editor-in-chief of the Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service
. MNNS is an online news website that reports on events, organizations and issues within Milwaukee communities, often focusing on areas that don't get thorough news coverage from major news outlets. McGowan started MNNS in March 2011, and the website now covers 15 Milwaukee neighborhoods.
I'd heard of MNNS before, since they are partnered with the Diederich College of Communication and their headquarters are located on the fifth floor of Johnston Hall. However, I'd never considered the important role they play in giving a voice to Milwaukee's underrepresented communities. McGowan said that many of the neighborhoods MNNS covers will only end up in the news because of a crime, and that one crime might lead to five or six stories. To give us an example of the types of stories her reporters tell, McGowan showed us a video, produced by Andrea Waxman, about a group of young moms who have come together to help others in their community
McGowan said that the "ultimate goal" of MNNS "is to improve the quality of life in the communities [they] cover." We'll be writing our own stories for the website later on this semester, breaking off into groups of two to profile community organizations in the neighborhoods MNNS covers. I can't wait to find out what our assignments will be; I think everyone can benefit from these projects, since we'll get some experience doing journalism in Milwaukee, rather than confining ourselves to news on campus and downtown, and local organizations will have the opportunity to share their stories.