Jon Dowding Captures Philadelphia’s Culture

Hailing from New Jersey, reporter Jon Dowding prides himself in documenting the city of Philadelphia’s culture and social issues. Dowding is a Journalism and Spanish double major with a minor in Political Science. He currently attends Temple University.

Q: What makes you unique?

A: I am proud to say that I’m Jersey born. I’m biracial. My dad and his family are from the Caribbean, which means there is always good food at family parties. I’m honestly just really happy to be doing everything I’m doing. 

Q: Why did you choose to go to Temple for Journalism?

A: Well, it was between Temple and University of Maryland, College Park for me. Temple gave me more money so that’s why I’m here. I really enjoyed Temple though when I came here and thought the program was really good. Also, I always wanted to go to school in an urban environment and I feel like you can learn so much about life from being in a city. 

Q: How will you use your previous Journalism experience to help you with your particular beat?

A: After doing stuff for the DNC, I have a better understanding of politics, especially in Philly. With that being said, it can help me understand why certain issues are more prevalent here than other places. I’ve also studied about gentrification and its effects so that will also  make me more aware of things going on here.

Q: Define what “culture” means to you.

A: Culture to me is what makes people tick. Culture to me answers the question of why people in a certain area live the way they do, act the way they do,  and talk the way they do. Culture can represent centuries of traditions for people of certain areas and illustrate such a broader narrative about people. 

Q: What made you choose culture and social issues as your beat?

A: I always loved learning about new people and their lifestyles. It always interested me to see why people thought and did things. I also love learning more about social issues and doing investigations into why they are occurring and what not. I feel that by raising awareness about something, there is a greater possibility of that issue finally coming to an end. 

Q: Name one word that describes culture in Philadelphia.

A: Diverse. The culture in Philly changes block-by-block and I love that about this city. It leaves so much more to learn and explore about it.

Q: How does Culture in Philadelphia affect you personally?

A: For me personally, it just makes me more anxious to go out and learn about it. That is one of the one things about culture, to me anyway. I feel that you cannot sit down and read a book about culture. The only way you can learn about culture is by going out and experiencing it. 

Q: How are social issues important for Journalism?

A: Journalists document history and social issues are major things that stick out in history. We are still habitually talking about Civil Rights and the effects of it today. With that being said, I also think journalists have the opportunity to get a true understanding as to why they happen and can hopefully evoke change.

Q: What are some ideas that would make for great culture stories?

A: An idea I had would be to go to a local event and find someone there who has deep connections to it. Then I would try to answer the question of why this program or initiative is important and how it effects the culture and perspective of that neighborhood. 

Q: Ultimately what are you highlighting and what is the main point of your beat?

A: I personally feel we need to highlight what makes Philly Philly and we paint that picture by talking about different topics and issues going on in this city. By shedding a light on what’s actually going on, I feel we can appropriately illustrate the city. 

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