Thursday, January 23, 2014

Using Maps and Media To Draw Resources to Neighborhoods

Today I posted a story on the Tutor/Mentor Blog showing how I've been creating map stories like this one since 1993, in an effort to build greater attention for tutor/mentor programs in neighborhoods where incidents of violence are highlighted in the media.

I've been doing map stories with the help of volunteers, and occasionally with paid staff, since launching the Tutor/Mentor Connection. Since I don't have advertising dollars, my strategy has been to follow news stories where violence, gangs and/or poorly performing schools have been giving front page, or major emphasis on inside pages of the Chicago Tribune or the Chicago SunTimes, which are the two major papers in Chicago, each reaching several hundred thousand readers a day.

If the media story builds public interest and a desire for readers to get involved, map-stories like these can tell "The Rest of The Story", which is what the media do not do consistently include in their stories. We can show indicators of why shootings are taking place, or why students perform poorly in public schools, and we can show if there are any non-school, volunteer-based tutoring and/or mentoring programs in the area around where the story took place. We can also show some of the businesses, faith groups, hospitals and/or universities that share the same geography, and who should be strategically involved in making high quality, constantly improving tutor/mentor programs available in these areas.

Youth in middle and high schools throughout the Chicago region, and in other cities could be creating these stories, and could be involved in collecting and maintaining information about non-school programs in different neighborhoods. This article and this article offer suggestions for getting young people involved.

See additional map stories here and in the Tutor/Mentor Map Gallery.

If you're implementing this strategy, share a link to your own blog articles and connect with us on Twitter or Facebook.