PHOENIX -- Lately, I’ve been sort of obsessed about putting our reporting on the map.
As a Phoenix native, I know the city like the back of my hand. Except sometimes I’m surprised when I don’t.
Recently, I was running errands in South Phoenix when I came across a neighborhood that immediately forced me off my intended route. The homes were made of stylish red brick. The summer sunlight glistened off flood irrigation that watered expansive lawns. Clearly, the land was once a citrus orchard.
Cool! I wanted to live there.
This is remarkable because South Phoenix has a reputation for being an undesirable place to live. People I know don’t often go down there.
I have a feeling reporters don’t either.
We’ve been talking in the newsroom about making a map that shows where we do most of our interviews. [Above I'm posting an incomplete draft of a map we’re working on. You can see for yourself.]
Even though we focus so much on changing demographics, I’m not so certain our maps would show much activity south of downtown. I also wonder how often we’ve been in the Central Phoenix neighborhoods transected by Interstate 17, another part of town people tend to avoid.
This city – and probably your city – doesn’t have as many journalists working in places where journalists are often needed.
That’s a shame. Because there’s a surprise at every corner, if someone is around to look.