Keeping the Peace, Peacefully: McCormick Specialized Reporting Institute

A workshop on police and community relations for journalists

More resources are available on The Poynter Institute’s Covering Community Policing and Urban Violence.

Resources for journalists:

Download the guides for journalists on covering urban violence and covering police activity. 

Covering Urban Violence Covering Police


About the Keeping the Peace workshop:

The state of police community relations is a critical issue today. This two-day workshop armed journalists with facts, analyses and reporting strategies to make their reporting matter. Scholars and experts from across the United States covered issues ranging from race and community relations and police strategies to control violence, to police accountability and the mental health challenges police officers face, on and off the job. We also visited Chicago neighborhoods confronted by the contagion of violence to hear about the challenges and successes faced there. “We’re trying to move the dime on police reporting,” said Susy Schultz, a veteran journalist and president of the Community Media Workshop. “To really make sure we look at race and get the other voices from the community, not just the voices of power.” The workshop welcomed journalists of diverse races, genders and ages to Chicago, including journalists from mainstream, community and ethnic news media and from all media platforms, as well as academics and college professors. The workshop was held on Thursday, April 23; Friday, April 24; and Saturday, April 25, 2015 at Columbia College Chicago.

Meet the journalists and researchers who attended the institute.


Below are four stories on the event.


Journalists gather in Chicago to discuss race and police

By Dimitrios Kalantzis By the time the 20 working journalists from across the country, and all types of media, converged in Chicago for a marathon 20-hour, two-day workshop on covering police, race and community, Freddie Gray was already dead. The 25-year-old Baltimore man’s death while in police custody on April 19 would spark yet another protest — and riot — in an American city. But not just yet. So it was almost prescient that the workshop opened April 23 with an introduction by Peter Moskos, an associate professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, who began his research by becoming a beat cop for the Baltimore Police Department. Read more…


In Back of the Yards, more to the story than gang violence

By Dimitrios Kalantzis Standing in front of a buffet of chicken and beef, corn tortillas and Spanish rice, Joe was filling up his plate. Someone asked him how old he was. “I just made 18,” he said. It was a curious way of phrasing it. Except Joe is from Chicago’s Back of the Yard’s neighborhood, a tough neighborhood on the city’s South Side, just south of Bridgeport, just north of Englewood. It’s split by a rail line separating the Hispanic and black populations and has suffered from gun violence in much the way many other communities on Chicago’s West and South sides have. Making it to 18, Joe explained later to a group of reporters, is worth noting. Read more…


How they see us

By Dimitrios Kalantzis If there was a consensus from those who attended the McCormick Foundation Specialized Reporting Institute on race, community and police, it was that many of the key players are leery and suspect there is bias in the media. Read more…


Reporting on (and around) the police

By Dimitrios Kalantzis Crime reporting, like any other beat, has fundamentals. You work your sources, every week, not just for breaking news stories, but for trend stories that tell a truth that often escapes the blotter. “It’s time, investment of time,” said Robert Salonga, a reporter for the San Jose Mercury News. “And you have to prove over time that you’ll abide by your word.” Read more…


Featured presenters included:


            • Gina Barton, criminal justice reporter for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel



          • Randolph Dupont, Ph.D., professor and clinical psychologist at the University of Memphis School of Urban Affairs and Public Policy, Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice



          • Justin Hansford, J.D., law professor at Saint Louis University School of Law



          • Jin Hee Lee, J.D., deputy director of litigation for the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc.



          • Christopher Mallette, J.D., executive director of the Chicago Violence Reduction Strategy, John Jay College of Criminal Justice’s Center for Crime Prevention and Control



          • Peter Moskos, Ph.D., associate professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in the Department of Law, Police Science, and Criminal Justice Administration and author of several books





          • Amy Watson, Ph.D., associate professor at the Jane Addams College of Social Work, University of Illinois at Chicago



See the full list of presenters and their contact information here.

Sponsored by:

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