Solutions Journalism Start-Up Lifts Voices within the City
Kenneth Miles’ memories of the city of Trenton includes cookouts, family gatherings, and summer nights. “When I was a little boy, it just held fond memories for me when my family would get together on Bond Street and have these cookouts…and that’s all I knew about Trenton,” Miles said. “When I decided to move into Trenton about a year ago, I was asked a lot of questions, and I was told not to move here…and I was also asked why I am moving into Trenton.”
After coming here, Miles felt like he was coming home, no matter what questions came his way. “But when I got here, it just felt like home and I listened to my spirit… Trenton has a small town feel…and I just felt like this was a place where I can grow.”
In January of 2021, Miles started the Trenton Journal to help a community in need of solutions-based journalism, which aims to address information gaps within the city, providing resources and events without a paywall. They earn their money through grants like the NABJ Black Press Grant and the New Jersey Civic Consortium grant. This helps him keep a paywall off of his site so that the information and stories the Trenton Journal get to the public free of charge.
The veteran journalist has written for New York Times Syndicate, Interview, Black Enterprise, Industry, Paper, The Source, WBGO.org, and has been in the industry for over 20 years. Still, this endeavor is entirely new for him. “This is all new to me from when I started back in the day…so now we have collaborative forms of journalism,” Miles said, “People never talked about this when I started 20 years ago.”
Helena Perray, an intern, who works for the Trenton Journal, discussed that she works mainly on providing stories that serve a purpose to the community. “He wants to be a bigger purpose behind things that we’re covering and things that we’re writing about,” Perray said. “It’s not necessarily just for fun, and because it’s a good read. It’s also something that provides resources to people that are reading it… it’s giving useful information to the community.”
This wave of new journalism establishes that the stories don’t just cover an event or a situation for the sake of covering it. Instead, it sets out to establish a rapport with the community it serves.
“My definition of solution journalism is not just writing,” Miles said. “Whatever the issue may be, it is finding a solution or giving a resource to that particular problem in the story,” Miles said.
Check out Trenton Journal on Facebook and on their website at www.Trentonjournal.com.
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