Reporting tips

Want to start reporting about South L.A.? Here are a few tips compiled by the Intersections team meant to put you on the path to tracking down exciting and original stories. 

  • Nonprofits: Check out nonprofits listed on Intersections, or others operating in South L.A., and learn about the issues they cover.
  • City Council District: Meet with councilmembers and their deputies. Attend district events like neighborhood cleanups or cultural festivals. Connect with press representatives and stay in touch. Sign up for newsletters. The Council Districts in South L.A. are: 8th District, 9th District, 10th District and 15th District.
  • Neighborhood Council: Attend meetings and get to know the councilmembers – regular people who have a long-time investment in the neighborhood. Click here for a list of L.A.’s neighborhood councils.
  • Neighborhood events and festivals: Go to local events and collect everybody’s business card. What topics do people think the media should be covering? Visit the Intersections calendar for upcoming events.
  • Local angle: What’s the South L.A. angle on city, state or national news? Many times newspapers analyze data on a state/county/city level. Since the data’s already there, look at South L.A. zip codes to quickly do South L.A. data-specific stories. Follow the Los Angeles Times for city, state and national news.
  • Follow local media: Stay on top of local publications. Look for new angles to reported news, or ways to delve deeper. Follow Intersections on Twitter to see what news we follow, and read our news roundups.
  • Hang out: Go to places where community members gather, like an eatery, Zumba studio, park or senior center. Get to know the locals.
  • Find a good source: Look for someone knowledgeable who can guide you around his or her community.
  • Keep in touch with your sources: If you know someone influential in the community and know that this person is a key decision maker, write to him or her every time anyone from your team writes about the community. Also call just to talk without the purpose of doing an interview.
  • Ask everyone you meet: What should I be covering? And who else do you think I should talk to?
  • Use the web: Create Google news alerts for “South L.A.” and “South Los Angeles,” and other specific names of communities or topics that interest you. Examples: “Compton” and “air quality;” “Watts” and “education.”
  • Use Intersections: The archive of articles published on Intersections since 2009 is a trove of stories and information. Whenever you’re researching a topic, search the Intersections site to see what related work has been published.
  •  Go into new environments with an open mind. Be prepared to spend as long as it takes to build trust with sources, and understand the full context of your story.

Got other tips? Email Daina Solomon at [email protected].