Hey Flintstones, 

Well, I think we all can agree on one thing: we’re ready to say goodbye to 2020. Our city was hit hard by the pandemic — and Flint Beat explored our mountain of challenges — in addition to highlighting some major victories. 

If you take a look at other local news outlets, it’s clear that their main focus trends toward the “dark side” of Flint. But you and I both know that there’s so much more to us than just the aftermath of the water crisis and hard-hit neighborhoods. 

We’re resilient. We’re brave. We’re strong. And we stick together.

In November, we had an amazing voter turnout–and the world was watching. Educators are stepping up to make sure kids are making it to their virtual classes — and getting their basic needs met. We also took on a three-part series that dissected the mayor’s plan to combat crime — and our reporter, Amy Diaz, was featured in a Solutions Journalism Network podcast.

Throughout the year we’ve seen not just how resilient Flint is, but how talented, fun, and engaging the city is. When times got tough for local businesses, we highlighted those Flint businesses that were finding creative ways to keep going, we took a closer look at city hall this year, engaged the community in solutions journalism, reintroduced video storytelling to Flint and developed 2020 Election content in Spanish. Our team introduced the city to its own ten-year-old rapper, told the story of how an LGBT artist can make it on the hip hop scene, and showed Flintstones how they could see their own local talent perform live, even during a pandemic.

We have a lot to celebrate this year — not only as a newsroom, but as a city. Thanks to you, we have captured the essence of Flint, and we aim to continue this effort in 2021 with a team that continues to grow, and more coverage of the city we love. 

So, to wrap up 2020, we’ve rounded up Flint Beat’s Top 10 topics of the year — and we couldn’t have done it without you.

2020 Photo Highlights

2020 Story Highlights

1. A local approach to COVID-19
We explored how COVID-19 is affecting residents, and their latest response to the vaccine.

Do Flintstones Trust the COVID-19 vaccine? Residents weigh in 
Historic Day: first healthcare workers in Flint receive Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine
YouTube video

2. An eye-opening Solutions Journalism series
This three-part series, led by veteran journalist Amy Diaz, took an investigative approach exploring each of the city’s elements of their plan to combat gun violence.

Will a gun buyback program remove weapons from Flint’s criminals?
Will more local cops decrease Flint’s violent crime?
Will the Special Investigative Unit decrease gun violence in Flint? 
3. Changes and updates at Flint Schools
We explored important topics, like how educators helped track down children who weren’t showing up to virtual classes during the pandemic — and how prioritizing funding for children with special needs became front and center.

Flint Community Schools is Going Door to Door to Find Hard-to-Reach Students
Flint school officials praise new special education funding plan as win for all county districts
Southwestern Academy helps families prepare for winter with holiday give away special education funding plan as a win for all county districts
4. The Flint water settlement 
This ongoing debate has caused quite a bit of controversy. We cover all sides of the issue and have the latest updates ready for you.

City of Flint to join $641.25 million water lawsuit settlement
Community Leaders Say $600-million settlement is not enough
“ A slap in the face…and a  kick in the behind”: Local leaders protest Flint water crisis settlement

5. Flint’s role in the 2020 Election
From voting trends to dedicated poll workers, we explored the high volume of voters who showed up and why, and warned residents about misleading robocalls.

Why the eyes of the world are on Flint this election
State Attorney General warns Flint of lying robocalls
6. Flint businesses
Even during the pandemic, businesses are resilient as can be — and many folks in our community are backing them.

Black owned – How one Flint family is fighting barriers in the haircare industry
Flint Candle Co. grows despite pandemic

7. The latest hot topics at Flint City Hall
From Mayor Sheldon Neeley’s key initiatives to big decisions impacting our city, we share all the latest info about what’s being discussed and debated.

Flint Mayor Neeley reflects on his first year in office in State of the City Address
Juneteenth added to list of holidays in Flint’s city code
8. Volunteer initiatives 
We all know there’s a lot of good that happens in our city — and we want the rest of the world to know about it!

First responders surprise kids at Hurley Hospital with holiday emergency vehicle parade
Volunteers become more innovative during COVID-19 pandemic
Flint business owner launched initiative to feed youth during coronavirus school closings
9. Highlighting important people and places

Local news outlets are often leaving significant topics out of the conversation — so we take the time to tell those stories.

More than 90% of inmates at the Genesee County Jail are awaiting trial
Residents in arson-plagued Flint neighborhood say it’s “like living in a war zone”
Now watch her do it: 10-year-old Flint rapper talks inspiration, goals, and haters

10. Fighting blight, combating eviction, and tackling housing issuesUnderstanding these complex issues can be a bit daunting, but we’re here to break it down for you.$1 million in rent assistance available to Flint residents facing eviction“Strong despite many challenges”: State of the Land Bank Address offers insight into progress, challenges

Flint Beat‘s founder and publisher, Jiquanda Johnson is a Flint-area native with more than 16 years of experience in journalism including print, television and digital media. She has worked for The...