Talking about race and culture is hard for a lot of Kansas Citians. It’s hard everywhere in the United States where people from different backgrounds share space and resources. But when we dig into stories about our identities and how they affect our families, our politics, arts and health – it’s hard not to recognize that race, culture and identity is a central force in our lives, and deserves special attention in our news coverage.
That’s why KCUR 89.3 and three other stations across the country (St. Louis Public Radio in St. Louis, Missouri, Oregon Public Broadcasting in Portland, Oregon, and WNPR in Hartford, Connecticut) have started a reporting collaborative called Sharing America, focused on the impact of race, ethnicity and identity on our cities.
Michelle Tyrene Johnson, a playwright, journalist, columnist, and former employment attorney and diversity trainer, is covering this beat for us here at KCUR 89.3. She’ll bring her experience analyzing our city’s fracture lines and connecting points as she contributes to our reporting on Kansas City news and culture through this lens.
“I think each of those perspectives — race, identity, and culture — are embedded into the very fabric our individual lives as Americans and our collective destiny,” Johnson says. “Being able to tell stories that showcase different lives, stories, challenges and worldviews is exciting, gratifying and affirming.”
Editor Holly Edgell is leading this collaborative out of St. Louis Public Radio.
“We are at a place in history where these issues are at the forefront in ways that are both old and new,” Edgell says, adding that we can’t leave meaningful coverage and discussion of these issues to chance.
“This collaborative represents an intentional decision by the four stations to dedicate time and resources to topics and themes that often get short shrift, or only get attention when there is conflict or controversy,” Edgell says.
Johnson’s reporting is airing during KCUR’s Morning Edition and All Things Considered, as well as informing our local talk shows Central Standard and Up To Date. The collaborative is funded in part by a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.