"We, the Media Justice fellows are artists, activists, advocates, story tellers and journalists dedicated to making a difference"
This is the beginning of the vision statement the Reentry Think Tank's new Media Justice Fellows recited during their Pitch Event on April 24th.
The event, which took place in the Philadelphia Inquirer Building, invited editors and journalists from Philadelphia's numerous media outlets to meet with the fellows, hear about their lives and story ideas, and provide feedback to help them craft their stories. Over a dozen were in in attendance to give guidance to the Think Tank's emerging journalists.
The fellows are Anthony Hirschbuhl, Sheila Michael, Joseph Schwartz, Marcus Jarvis, Raymond Jordan, Derrick Cain, Jym Baker, and Abd'Allah Lateef.
Following remarks from the Co-Executive Director of RESOLVE Philly, Jean Friedman-Rudovsky, the lead Media Justice Fellow, Abd'Allah Lateef introduced the cohort. Lateef explained that the fellows have gone through multiple media trainings and spent time refining their stories, while reiterating the benefits of empowering justice-involved individuals to write stories about Criminal Justice.
The format of the event was a "round-robin". Each media fellow was stationed at a table, where they would give their pitch in a three-minute time frame. Then, the journalists would give five minutes of feedback, which helped fellows flesh out their ideas and consider what platforms would be most effective.
The Reentry Think Tank will train, fund, and support formerly incarcerated men, women, and youth to be Philadelphia’s newest criminal justice reporters. Fellows will research, produce, and publish a series of media pieces throughout spring 2019. The fellowship centers formerly incarcerated Philadelphians as the criminal justice experts who are best suited to create media and messages that challenge stereotypes, illuminate hurdles to reentry, and present solutions to these urgent and systemic issues.
By partnering fellows with an array of professional journalists, advocates, and reentry system stakeholders we can equip fellows to design and create powerful multimedia pieces.
Fellows will write Personal Pieces that tell the stories of the story tellers. Then working with their Media Mentor, and partner media outlets, will identify key barriers to reentry that each fellow wants to focus on. They will then publish a series of solution-focused media that addresses their chosen barriers.