The Poverty Narrative session options
Thank you for your interest in The Poverty Narrative: A Midwest Perspective virtual conference. Interactive webinars will take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays in June, bringing together journalists and academic researchers to promote in-depth, impactful, and solutions-oriented media coverage of poverty-related issues.

Please sign up for as many session as you like, and we hope you will join us for the whole series. Participants will receive updates via e-newsletter with additional resources related to each session.

This event is hosted by Poverty Solutions at the University of Michigan as part of the Midwest Mobility from Poverty Network, with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Contact U-M Poverty Solutions Strategic Projects Manager Karen Otzen at with any questions. Learn more about the conference:
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Session Schedule *
Lessons on Inequality from COVID-19: Q&A with Michele Norris
The coronavirus pandemic has laid bare inequality in the U.S. and eroded many people's economic security. Join Michele Norris, founder of the Race Card Project, director of The Bridge at Aspen Institute, and former host of the NPR evening news program “All Things Considered”; and Poverty Solutions Director H. Luke Shaefer for this conversation on the turning point our country faces as we reopen the economy and reimagine the social safety net. They'll also discuss the roles academics and media can play in shaping the public's understanding of poverty issues at this critical time.
Re-thinking the Poverty Narrative
Income inequality in the U.S. hit a record high in 2019, and the coronavirus pandemic has put new strains on our country’s social safety net. More than ever, poverty is a factor on every beat in the newsroom - whether you’re covering city hall, national politics, education, or business and development. This session will cover why it’s so important to get the poverty narrative right, the intersection of race and poverty, and strategies for impactful reporting that centers the experiences of people with low incomes.

Moderated by Luke Shaefer, Poverty Solutions at University of Michigan
Darrick Hamilton, Kirwan Institute at Ohio State University
Bill Nichols, Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity
Sarah Alvarez, Outlier Media
Zoe Greenberg, Boston Globe
How to Tell a Story with Data
As we’ve seen with the coronavirus pandemic, effective integration of data in storytelling can have negative and positive consequences. In this discussion, we’ll learn about data visualization and how to pair analytics with compelling narrative storytelling.

Moderated by Luke Shaefer, Poverty Solutions at University of Michigan
Emily Badger, New York Times
Scott Levin, MLive
Solutions Journalism Workshop
Impactful reporting does more than just identify problems - it identifies how people are responding to problems and evaluates which solutions are truly effective. Solutions Journalism Network will share strategies journalists can use to produce compelling coverage of responses to social problems across the U.S. and discuss the role of academic research in identifying which solutions work.

Moderated by Lauren Slagter, Poverty Solutions at U-M
Sarah Gustavus, Solutions Journalism Network
Jean Friedman-Rudovsky, Broke in Philly
Understanding Disadvantage in Rural, Urban and Suburban Places
Disadvantage takes different forms in different places, and context is important when reporting on challenges facing a community and potential solutions. This panel will discuss how poverty plays out in rural, urban, and suburban places.

Moderated by Lynette Clemetson, Wallace House at U-M
Luke Shaefer, Poverty Solutions at University of Michigan
David Jesse, Detroit Free Press
Glennon Sweeney, Kirwan Institute at Ohio State University
Roshanak Mehdipanah, School of Public Health at U-M
Where Public Policy Meets Real Life
Coronavirus relief efforts have launched a new tangle of public policies dictating who receives aid and when and how that aid is delivered. In this panel, veteran journalists will share their experiences cutting through the wonky world of public policy to uncover the real-world impact of policymakers’ decisions and the role academics can play in helping the public understand these issues.

Moderated by Elisabeth Gerber, Ford School of Public Policy at U-M
Melissa Sanchez, ProPublica Illinois
Jonathan Cohn, Huffington Post
Christine MacDonald, Detroit News
Using Personal Stories for Systemic Change
Sharing the personal stories of people directly affected by poverty can be a powerful way to raise awareness of an issue and spur action. Speakers will share strategies for identifying people whose personal experiences illustrate broader issues and how to share their stories in a way that contributes to systemic change.

Moderated by Luke Shaefer, Poverty Solutions at University of Michigan
Marisol Bello, Center for Community Change
Marisa Kwiatkoswki, USA Today
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