LatinaLista -- What happens when two Anglo female journalists move in with a Mexican family living in Los Angeles' MacArthur Park area?
It's a developing story that these two journalists, Devin Browne and Kara Mears, have titled "The Entryway." Their hope is that their experiences will intrigue, inspire and invoke public donations so they can write and produce a finished article that is already yielding surprising revelations.
Devin and Kara's room, while they live with their chosen family, is the entryway of the apartment building -- hence the title of their article.
...we are living in their America: We are eating tostadas and falling asleep to telenovelas; we are going on Sundays to a Pentecostal church under a tarp with fluorescent lighting and a full band; we are navigating a neighborhood in which nearly everything that happens is illegal - the fake IDs, the drugs, the extortion, the prostitutes in the panaderias, even the street vendors who sell tamales on the run.
This America grows every year. In fact it is predicted to triple within the next 40 years. The country will be a lot more Latino (+15 percent) and a lot less white (-20 percent). The Entryway is a point of access into this new place. Our entries, posted weekly, are meant not only to explore the America of the family we're staying with, but our own America as well.
The idea of journalists soliciting their own donations to finish a story is but one new idea that has sprung up in wake of the worst downfall in the history of the print industry.
The two women are working through the Spot.Us project of the "Center for Media Change." The way it works is that reporters pitch a story to Spot.Us and say how much money they feel they need to finish it. The request is put out to the public who can choose to "invest" in the story. If the story is picked up for publication and payment is involved, contributors get a portion back of their original contribution. All contributions are tax deductible as well.
Money isn't the only donation requested. With this story, there is also a request for a volunteer "Peer Review Editor." Someone who can "ensure fair and accurate reporting, to be a second pair of eyes before a story is published and to be a sounding board as the reporter develops a story."
The financial goal for "The Entryway" is $3,425.00. So far, they've raised only $575.00.
Yet, these two intrepid reporters aren't letting the money issue get them down. They continually keep readers updated on their experiences at the Spot.Us web site and are accomplishing the primary goal of their project -- learning Spanish.
In the process, they are learning the answers to some hard questions too:
How is that we live in the same city and yet entirely different worlds? Why are the headlines in their LA newspaper, La Opinion, almost never the same as the headlines in my LA Times? What does it mean that they could care less about the Oscars, but rush out the door to see a telenovela star make a guest appearance at La Curacao? And how do we both approach the great fact that we need to learn something from one another (Spanish, the Internet) to make us all more employable? How do we even begin to access one another's world? What is this line that divides their America from ours?