What is this class about?

Welcome to the West Side Local.

This class is an experiment in hyper-local journalism, grass roots activism and civic engagement. It’s also about journalism, technology and the place where the two meet.

This class is going to take you on to the streets of Buffalo and introduce you to an underrepresented part of the community. It requires reading, writing, shooting photos, and, for some, shooting and editing video and recording audio. It will teach you to listen deeply and tell compelling stories.

Websites discussed on 1/20

Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Der Spiegel

Buffalo News coverage of the West Side

Map of the West Side

West Side video — Aaron Bartley of PUSH

Milton Rogovin West Side photos

Milton Rogovin “The Forgotten Ones

What is hyperlocal?

The Mission Local

NY City News Service

LA Times Pop u LA tion

The Bride Price

The Milk Man — Vanishing Americana


You have three reading assignments for the week. We will be discussing all next Thursday during class so be ready with well-thought critiques and responses.

How does the article portray the neighborhood? Does it leave you with questions? What else do you want to know? What could the writer have done differently? How would you do the article differently?

Reading Assignment (1): Read Jan Schaffer’s 2003 speech on citizen journalism

Reading Assignment (2): Read NYT story on the West Side

Reading Assignment (3): Buffalo News story on the West Side

–Assignment: Find something written about the West Side in a newspaper, on a neighborhood blog, on an organization’s website etc. and bring it in. Be ready to talk about it in class.


About jkbiehl

Jody Biehl is the Director of the Journalism Certificate Program at University at Buffalo.
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