ABC TV stations launch ‘Our America: Fairness Report’

Stepping up a dedication to investigative journalism, ABC-owned tv stations have launched an formidable venture, “Our America: Equity Report,” which analyzes disparities that exist within the nation’s 100 largest cities.

For the final 12 months, dozens of journalists with the eight Walt Disney Co.-owned ABC stations, together with KABC-TV Channel 7 in Los Angeles, have sifted by way of reams of knowledge to uncover patterns of discrimination in education, housing, policing, well being and the setting. The crew compiled knowledge from public companies to construct an interactive on-line report that compares communities within the 5 classes.

The report, which was unveiled Tuesday, is the primary main initiative undertaken by the information journalists at ABC stations. The hassle grew out of a realization that typical protection of stories — stay reviews from crime scenes, wildfires or high-speed police chases — typically lack depth or context about bigger societal traits.

“People expect more from local news these days than just reporting the news,” stated Anna Robertson, vp of content material and companion innovation with the ABC-owned tv stations. “We are constantly thinking about what kind of products can we create to serve our audiences? … How do we make sure the next generation cares about, and engages in, our local news?”

Local news ratings have been declining during the last decade. Two years in the past, Robertson spearheaded the trouble to construct a crew of knowledge journalists. The stations obtained two grants from the Google Information Initiative Innovation Problem to assist ABC speed up its knowledge journalism initiatives. (ABC declined to reveal how a lot cash it obtained from Google.) The objective of the information journalism initiatives, Robertson stated, was to compile and arrange knowledge from public companies “so that we could find what we call ‘stories hiding in plain sight.’ ”

The hassle ramped up f inal 12 months throughout protests over George Floyd’s murder in Minneapolis

. ABC reporters had already been disparities through the COVID-19 pandemic. In Los Angeles, for instance, KABC discovered extra COVID-19 testing facilities in rich communities in contrast with much less prosperous areas, which had fewer and extra crowded services.

“A lot of these issues get covered as one-off issues — there is a gap here, or an inequity there — but a lot of the same patterns are showing up in quality of life issues,” stated John Kelly, the director of knowledge journalism for the ABC-owned tv stations who oversaw the reporting effort.

“Where do our kids go to school? What is our house worth? Can we even buy a house? What is the air we breathe like? What is the water like?” Kelly requested. “We wanted to show these issues in an easy-to-understand way, and show them side by side” for the highest 100 cities in America.

Along with Los Angeles, ABC owns stations in New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Fresno, Houston and Raleigh-Durham in North Carolina. ABC plans to roll out the report back to its affiliated stations.

The information are getting used to form tales. Julian Glover, an ABC race and tradition journalist in San Francisco, documented how a Black household skilled racism earlier this 12 months when they received a home appraisal with a low value for the area. Two weeks later, after they adorned their house with images borrowed from white associates, the house obtained a 50% larger appraisal.

Mark Nichols, senior supervisor for knowledge journalism at ABC-owned tv stations and ABC Information, stated the venture has fostered collaboration between the eight ABC-owned stations and ABC News’ nationwide investigative unit.

“The local stations have been able to get into neighborhoods and find great stories that often end up in our national reporting,” Nichols stated. “These are local examples that we are seeing nationally. We hope this can be a living, breathing project that keeps carrying on.”

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