Home > Roundup > Nanaimo News Bulletin hits poverty hard

Nanaimo News Bulletin hits poverty hard

November 30, 2010

This Friday the Nanaimo News Bulletin and reporter Rachel Stern will wrap an extended and extensive four-part series on poverty’s pervasive impact in that city.

It’s a huge issue and one deserving such an in-depth look from the twice-weekly paper.

Part one started last Monday with a long, wide-ranging story about the need for more and better affordable housing. Stern details how housing prices have outstripped funding sources for those in need. The issue also featured two more stories about the long-stagnant minimum wage.

Part two on Friday looked at the effect of poverty on one’s health and stomach. High housing costs mean poor families have less to spend on food. And, as Stern writes in her showcase piece, when they can buy food, that food is often unhealthy. The poor are also twice as likely to have arthritis and rheumatism.

Part three looked at how many elderly people live in, or near, poverty. The answer: just about one-fifth, although most live just above the poverty line. Eighty-four-year-old Jean Smith is one of them.

In each story Stern does an excellent job of personalizing impersonal figures but also breaking down the actual figures so people realize just how little money many people live on.

Part four will wrap Friday.

The BCYNAs may be calling next.

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Elsewhere on the Isle:

Google Maps is an underused tool for reporters, despite its ease of use. The Ladysmith Chronicle shows that it can be used easily and with good effect even for a relatively isolated and minor story.

Headline: “Fondue explosion sends two to hospital.” ‘Nuf said.

Kevin Rothbauer of the Cowichan Valley Citizen got a photo of a fireball that used to be a house. Good reporting on the fire by Sarah Simpson. Got names of the injured homeowners and a recounting of events. (It’s amazing how traumatized people never mind talking to a reporter while they watch a house burn.)

An aside: when will Postmedia’s Vancouver Island papers get the same style of website as their Lower Mainland cousins, (i.e. a ghetto-ized Vancouver Sun site)?

An aside, pt. 2: I love the website of the Powell River Peak; it’s fast, easy-to-use and intuitive.

Reminder: help complete a census of B.C. community newspapers by filling in the blanks of the Journo-lust Spreadsheet. 

Photo by Bridge Coila via Flickr.
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