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A 'Liberating' Experience: J-Students Cover Tough Liberty City for Black Weekly

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

A 'Liberating' Experience: J-Students Cover Tough Liberty City for Black Weekly

Article excerpt

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

WHEN FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL University journalism Professor Neil Reisner teaches about the importance of diversity in reporting, he likes to send students outside their comfort zone. He'll assign an African-American student to report from Little Havana in Miami, for instance, or send a white student to Little Haiti.

Now, in an unusual partnership with a black-interest Miami weekly, Reisner is sending an entire reporting class to cover Liberty City, an almost-entirely black neighborhood that's best known nationally for the riots that followed a not-guilty verdict in a police shooting.

But while the journalists may be out of their demographic group--just one of the 17 students is African-American--they are by all accounts having the time of their life.

"One of the really exciting aspects of this partnership is that an opportunity for young journalists to be exposed to hard-core journalism, real-life journalism in the real world, and to go through the editing process as if they were actually working for a newspaper, with all the rigors that entails," says Robert Beatty, punisher and owner of the South Florida Times. "The opportunity to cover a community that we believe has not gotten the kind of attention it deserves is an equally exciting thing for our newspaper. This is one of those partnerships you dream about."

Liberty City is the sort of rough neighborhood ignored by mainstream news media unless a particularly violent episode occurs. …

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