What is Community Journalism?

The community journalism program was created in 2008 between Nicholas McBride and his former student and High School of Commerce teacher, Brian Duffy. UMass students visit the Springfield high school each week to discuss media, learn journalistic skills and write news stories. 

The year-long program challenges traditional education paradigms shifting the current systematic model to one of democratic discussion challenging the norms we have been thrown into from the time we enter the public education sector. Below is a video of a talk from Sir Ken Robinson, world-renowned education and creativity expert. Professor McBride will often show the video in the first couple weeks of the course to demonstrate what, in part, the work is about. 

Within the year, students are asked to read multiple works from Paulo Freire's "Pedagogy of Freedom" and Viktor E. Frankl's "Man's Search for Meaning." The texts help students reflect on elements that can relate to the work they are doing both inside and outside the classroom.

In the clip below, Holocaust survivor, neurologist and psychiatrist Viktor Frankl argues the case on why we should believe in others. 

The Community Journalism Project is working to rethink and reinvent education. Journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones is an investigative journalist known well for her coverage of civil rights in America.  In the piece below, Hannah-Jones looks into understanding what nobody tries anymore, desegregation, despite significant evidence that it works. Her piece "The Problem We All Live With" also helps to highlight the importance of the community work done between UMass and the High School of Commerce students 


Segment: Henry Giroux on Zombie Politics

In the following video, author and scholar Henry Giroux is interviewed on Moyers and Company  to discuss our current system that is informed by a "machinery of social and civil death that chills any vestige of a robust democracy."

In their interview, Giroux explains the society demonstrated under "casino capitalism" where the thing that drives us is not about the community we're in but rather inundated with our own self-interests. He speaks on America's consumerist beliefs which in turn helps the operations of a zombie-like society —lacking agency in democracy and the meaning of justice. 

The ideology of hardness and cruelty runs through American culture like an electric current
— Henry Giroux

In 45 minutes, Giroux explains many democratic values our current systems have fallen short to. The Community Journalism Project brings in a public sphere to discuss values outside of the mold of consumerist mindsets, flashy headlines and "dis-imagination zones."

The project brings a community forth to re-evaluate, question and discuss the stories that speak to the essence of democracy as democracy was intended. 

Believing that we can work together to produce commons in which we can share that raises everybody up and not just some people, that contributes to the world in a way that— and I really don’t mean to be romanticizing here, but a world that is we recognize is never just enough. Justice is never done. It’s an endless struggle. And that there’s joy in that struggle, because there’s a sense of solidarity that brings us together around the most basic, most elemental and the most important of democratic values.

— Henry Giroux

In the 2012 academic year, UMass students fundraised for a trip to Washington, D.C. with students at the High School of Commerce in the joint Community Journalism program. This is their story, and a piece of what community journalism is all about.