Mar 3, 2021 - Uncategorized    No Comments

‘Neighborhood’ reporting matters: Here’s one COVID vaccine example

Has the state’s vaccination program reached people of color and marginalized communities that have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19?

In at least one place the answer is yes – thanks to the work of a news reporter who shed light on a specific problem.

The question above was posed by David Lombardo, host of WCNY’s The Capitol Pressroom, to promote his interview with Josefa Velasquez, Senior Reporter at The City.

The story, in a nutshell: Velasquez was covering a vaccination site in Manhattan’s Washington Heights. An elderly (=much older than me) woman arrived early for the second day in a row seeking a vaccine or at least help getting an appointment; a computer was not an option. The people stationed to administer vaccines in this Spanish-speaking neighborhood could speak her language. And the vaccines were going to savvy suburbanites, not the intended local recipients. But Velasquez is multi-lingual and tenacious. She helped the woman and wrote a story that sparked a revision of the vaccination staffing and setup in Washington Heights.

Sounds so simple, so obvious.

Yet it took a local news reporter well-suited for the community she was covering to spark the change. Hats off to Velasquez and The City, the almost 2-year-old non-profit digital news platform that focuses on accountability reporting for residents of the five boroughs (and beyond).

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