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FLINT, Michigan–Flint Beat reporter Amy Diaz had the opportunity last week to highlight one of her stories regarding the city’s predictive policing approach to crime on the Solutions Journalism Network Podcast.
Diaz, who began working for Flint Beat in June, said the opportunity to speak about her work on a nationally recognized podcast was unexpected. “I was very surprised, I didn’t expect a national network would be asking me to talk about my work.”
The story titled “Will the Special Investigative Unit decrease gun violence in Flint?” is what caught the Solutions Journalism Network’s eye. Solutions journalism is an approach to reporting that focuses not just on the problems in a community, but how they can be solved and the specific challenges they face.
Diaz’stook over a month’s worth of research, interviewing and investigation.
“It was a very discouraging process,” she said. “So when they reached out to me about that specific story, it felt good … not only is what I wrote about happening in Flint but it’s happening in other places.”
According to Diaz, the opportunity came in the form of a Twitter DM sent at 1 a.m. After a bit of response back and forth in the following days, the interview was set up.
During the interview, the podcast’s host, Julia Hotz, asked Diaz about a perceived feedback loop within the city’s Special Investigative Unity approach to predictive policing. According to Diaz, the predictive policing approach encourages already over-policed areas to be even more over-policed.
The interview itself was meant to be more of a teaser for her story, Diaz said. The interview is short–just a few minutes, but Diaz said, “It is cool to be recognized … I think the Solutions Journalism Network is a cool framework for journalism that I had never done before.”