Giving the Poor a Voice — With Help From the Rich

Giving the Poor a Voice — With Help From the Rich

From where Barbara Ehrenreich sits, 2019 represents the latest sad act in an ongoing tragedy. Ehrenreich, the nation’s pre-eminent reporter on the dimming fortunes of the American working class, has watched as more and more journalists have faced the career guillotine.

"I’m angry," says Ehrenreich, also the author of several much-acclaimed books on the downwardly mobile, including Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America. "It makes me angry that billionaires think it’s OK to fractionally increase their incomes by destroying journalists."

This year alone, around 2,500 journalists in the United States have lost their jobs. With the recent announcement of 65 journalists being fired after the sale of the New Orleans Times-Picayune, the death knell sounded for yet another local legacy newspaper. For Ehrenreich, that means there will be fewer people like her plying their trade and less solid information for the public.

Now in her later years, Ehrenreich continues to fight against the odds stacked to benefit the rich — including those gobbling up and gutting media outlets — and against rank-and-file Americans and those who report on them. The Economic Hardship Reporting Project, an organization she formed in 2012 and then jump-started three years later with award-winning reporter and author Alissa Quart, makes grants to journalists who report on issues related to economic inequality.

Last year, it placed 132 articles, opinion pieces, photographic essays, and films in media outlets that, coupled with grant money from the Economic Hardship Reporting Project, pay decent money to those practicing a threatened craft. Many of the stories sponsored by the organization have been produced by laid-off journalists or people who have been homeless or who have served as peons in a stagnant, low-wage economy.

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Source: The Chronical of Philanthropy