Kensington is a Philadelphia neighborhood that often receives negative coverage, and member of Temple University’s Multimedia Storytelling class, Jennifer Karrigan, seeks to remedy this
Kerrigan is the new beat reporter for the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia, hopes to showcase the positive features of a neighborhood that is commonly negatively stigmatized. She has past experiences photographing and reporting in Philadelphia and other places, and has done work specifically in Kensington in the past. She feels that this experience will lead her to be able to properly cover this controversial area of Philadelphia. To hear her perspective, I spoke with Jennifer about her new beat as a Multimedia Storytelling reporter.
Are there any specific aspects of Kensington you are looking to focus on?
“I’m kind of planning on focusing on the light and the dark. Their are a lot of initiatives in Kensington, especially community oriented initiatives.
Are there any specific ones you plan on reporting on?
“There is Sunday Supper, New Sanctuary; which is a group based out of Kensington that is mostly immigrant led, fighting for immigrant rights. There are alot of community gardens, the first female owned comic book on the East Coast is in Kensington, which just began last year. So there is a lot of cool stuff going on.”
I know that generally Kesington is often negatively portrayed and stigmatized by media, what are your feelings on this?
“I think there is definitely a stigma around the neighborhood, because it is a hotspot of the heroin epidemic. However I think that it is important to shed light on other, more positive aspects of the neighborhood.”
So by light and dark you mean that you want to show the contrast in Kensington, and highlight some of the better features?
“Yes, the positivity in the neighborhood. I want to show the things that are good, that are community led. Not necessarily just crime and drugs. Its an aspect of the neighborhood, but I think if you focus too much on that, which is mainly what the media does; that’s what people think of when they hear Kensington, but I think theres a lot more to it.”
What led you to choose this beat?
“Well, I was the photography editor for the Temple News last year, and a couple of the stories I covered were based in Kensington. I’m familiar with some of the community efforts there, and I really wanted to cover a stigmatized area. I think thats what journalism is for, enlightening people.”
Do you think (of the assignments we are doing) one or two of the stories will have to focus on something negative?
“Well, the crack and heroin epidemic is still a problem in Kensington, so I would like to look at the statistics of substance abuse in Kensington over the past decade for my data project. I would also like to look at that in the context of organizations in Kensington that are rehabilitation centers, or initiatives focused on getting people off the streets and getting clean and healthy.”
Do you think your past experience (as a photographer and reporter) will help you to cover this beat?
“Yeah, I have some experience in reporting [outside of Temple News]. I worked for the Idaho Statesman as part of Temple’s DNC News Bureau program, so I reported at the Democratic National Convention. I also work as a freelance photojournalist in the city and I have done some independent projects, so I’m pretty confident I can jump in and make contacts.”