A livability index tool for reporting on ‘age-friendliness’ of cities and communities

Photo by Greta Hoffman via pexels.

The AARP Livability Index is a valuable tool for journalists who want to take a closer look at the “age-friendliness” of their cities and communities. The interactive tool scores every neighborhood and community in the United States for the services and amenities that impact a community’s ability to meet the current and future needs of people of all ages, regardless of income, physical ability, or ethnicity.

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More meaningful coverage of firearm violence requires ‘radical empathy’

Photo: Erica Tricarico  Yvonne Latty, professor at Temple University’s Klein College of Media and Communication, listens during the Q&A at the “Transforming news coverage of gun violence” session.

Journalists have long reported on gun violence in its most superficial terms: arriving at a crime scene, interviewing police, witnesses, and distraught family members, then filing a quick story by deadline. But that model doesn’t provide the empathy and dignity victims and their communities deserve, said panelists during the session “Transforming news coverage of gun violence” on October 28 at AHCJ’s fall summit.

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How I Did It: A question about alcohol deaths in New Mexico became a multi-part investigation

Ted Alcorn

When journalist Ted Alcorn visited an alcohol detox center in Gallup, New Mexico, he had little idea his reporting on the impact of alcohol on his state would grow into a multi-part, 21,000-words-and-growing series digging into why New Mexico residents die from drinking at much higher rates than those in other states. Alcorn’s remarkable package, Blind Drunk, was published by New Mexico In Depth in July 2022. Alcorn is an AHCJ Health Care Performance fellow and covered this story as a part of the fellowship program. 

A reporter with credits at The New York Times and other national publications who also lectures at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and NYU’s Wagner School of Public Service, Alcorn shared with AHCJ how his project came about and how he waded through the enormous amount of research that went into it.

This conversation has been edited for clarity and brevity.

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Red flag gun laws: Dig deeper to find stories that matter

Photo: Erica TricaricoJonathan Davis, executive director of the Baltimore Crisis Response; Shannon Frattaroli, a professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health; Veronica Pear, an assistant professor at University of California-Davis, during the “‘Red Flag’ Laws: The use of court orders to reduce gun violence” session.

In recent years, multiple states have made headlines for approving “red flag” laws or extreme risk projections orders, which allow judges to order the confiscation of firearms from people considered to be dangerous to themselves or others.

But too often, that’s where the reporting stops — right after a vote in a legislature and a governor’s signature. Two professors who study the measures urge journalists to find news by following up to see what happened next. 

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Experts who work with children affected by gun violence say coverage lacks nuance

Kathryn Bocanegra, assistant professor at the University of Illinois-Chicago, listening to panelist Arturo Carrillo, Ph.D., L.C.S.W., director of health and violence prevention at Brighton Park Neighborhood Council. (Photo by Erica Tricarico)

Law enforcement officials frequently mischaracterize perpetrators and victims of gun violence, resulting in news headlines and soundbites that sometimes obscure the toll it takes on very young people.

That was the broad message from experts on the “What exposure to chronic violence — especially among children — does to human health” panel at Reporting on Violence as a Public Health Issue: An AHCJ Summit in Chicago.

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