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Striking a Balance in PA's Media Ecosystem

June 4, 2010

PHILADELPHIA, Penn. - A group committed to probing issues not traditionally covered by mainstream media in Pennsylvania is using a multi-pronged approach to getting that accomplished. Todd Wolfson, assistant professor of journalism and media studies at Rutgers University, says the Media Mobilizing Project (MMP) will team up journalists, bloggers and videographers with average citizens who want their stories told.

"Our real meaning is to figure out ways to build a healthy media ecosystem for a lot of the communities that have traditionally not been well represented by the mass media, the old media."

Wolfson says MMP also has the mission to get away from the 24-hour news cycle we're all used to, where today's news is rarely tomorrow's.

"Sometimes it's long term, and that means having a commitment to people, to stories, to developing the arc of something which can take quite a bit of time. I don't think the contemporary media system is well set to that."

Wolfson says the kind of diversity MMP seeks in its news coverage is the same ingredient that can unite people from both sides of the state. For instance, he says, the common struggles of Pennsylvanians living in poverty, whether in big cities or in rural areas.

"Many of the things they're facing are very common, and so creating a common platform, a way to tell our stories; journalism across the state that helps people see that their futures are bound together."

Whether it's a story on race, health care or hotel workers, MMP's professionals train their novice counterparts to make sure their reports are factually sound, says Wolfson. MMP gets its stories exposed on a number of platforms including the web, community television and community radio, he adds.

Tom Joseph, Public News Service - PA