When it comes to covering affordable housing and homelessness crises that plague our country, the press has given it the good-old college try. Small-town papers like California’s Modesto Bee and big-city papers like The New York Times frequently report on affordable master-planned communities and supportive housing services-some even appear above the fold.
But they haven’t done much to help readers distinguish “affordable housing” from “public housing” or to move communities to be more open to inclusionary zoning. Could it be that housing issues are just too complex for J-school grads to grasp? Maybe not, if the recent recipients of the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s first media awards for coverage of affordable housing crisis are any indication. In late February, six journalists in Miami, D.C. and Long Beach, Sacramento, Stockton and Pasadena, California, won first-place prizes for their local coverage, and seven received honorable-mention recognition.