6 social impact stories we (especially) loved writing in 2018 - Generocity Philly


Dec. 19, 2018 7:03 am

6 social impact stories we (especially) loved writing in 2018

Writers have favorites, too. Here's what five Generocity reporters and this editor enjoyed covering the most.

A still from Netflix's "Chef's Table."

(Photo courtesy of Netflix)

Out of the hundreds of stories Generocity published in 2018, a few stick out as being especially good.

You know — the ones that get stuck in your mind so you’re still ruminating months later, or the ones that changed your opinion about something or made you look at some local institution in a new way.

“Good” is subjective, of course, but the sentiment is especially true for the people who wrote some (or many) of those stories. We all have favorites. Here’s mine:

The activist owners of South Philly Barbacoa will be featured on Netflix’s ‘Chef’s Table’

This story was nearly a year in the making — seriously, I found out Cristina Martinez and Ben Miller would be featured in their own episode in November 2017 but didn’t get to interview them about it until August 2018. It also took several days for me to write the story because I was super concerned about getting it just right. Every story carries with it the responsibility for accuracy, but there’s a certain gravity that comes with reporting on an undocumented woman’s very personal and painful journey to both the United States and business ownership. Also, Cristina spoke Spanish during our interview while Ben translated, and it got me thinking about journalists’ responsibility to eliminate access boundaries to storytelling.


Here’s what five more Generocity reporters enjoyed writing the most in 2018:

Alyesha Wise’s Black Women Necessary is an intimate, chillaxing activism

“It was an awesome switch up to chat with Alyesha Wise about her low-key, safe space event, Black Women Necessary, and get the chance to shed some light on a social movement that seems more purposefully personal than many of the other stories we cover. Organizations and those who work with them are often working on a grander scale — how to affect change in schools and cities and beyond. For me, this piece was an wonderful reminder that organizations and cities consist of people first , and that they must be cared for, one beautiful Black woman at a time.”

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Ebonee Johnson 

Mental health guide: Where to get therapy on a sliding scale in Philadelphia

“I loved working on the mental health guide because I wanted to do more than just post the national suicide hotline number on Twitter this summer. Not having insurance or enough money shouldn’t prevent someone from talking to a therapist. I was blown away by the number of people who shared the guide. I hope it helped someone who needed it.”

Zari Tarazona

PSA: Good fundraisers don’t always make good managers

“Writing is hard. Writing about something you’re passionate about, making sure you’re doing it justice, is harder. Writing down the things you hold inside for fear that you’ll lose your job or tarnish your professional reputation — it’s the most difficult kind of writing. Difficult, but necessary. And so worth it.”

Valerie Johnson

Kensington Storefront workers facing the opioid crisis head-on: ‘We need more help’ from the city

“The opioid crisis, homelessness and trauma that people experience in this city can be overwhelming to read about — let alone report on — but it was so inspiring to talk to workers like Roz and Michael. They’re so positive and empathetic, even while being on the frontlines of the toughest issues Philadelphia faces. And, at the end of it all, the storefront did end up getting some of the help they needed.”

Grace Shallow

A group of incarcerated men funded a backpack drive for Frankford kids with their prison wages

“I thought it was interesting and impactful to hear the voice of someone from a group that is less often represented in journalism. It was heartwarming to hear how dedicated Wallace and other inmates were to helping the kids at Frankford Elementary not only with supplies, but giving them advice for staying out of trouble as they grow up. I was also happy to highlight a unique program that could help inmates gain skills to help with successful reentry upon release. ”

— Laura Smythe


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