The Poor Know Poverty Best

Politicians debate how to solve poverty with minimum wage laws, welfare, and job creation. Reporters dispense statistics on foreclosed houses, rates of unemployment, and debt levels. The media and government provide a wealth of information on poverty in America, however the life of the poor remains distant and misunderstood by middle and upper-class Americans.

That is why Jina Moore, a freelance correspondent for the Christian Science Monitor, took to homeless shelters and secondhand stores to find the face of poverty. There she found Linda Creswell, a woman living under the poverty line who “watches grain prices to see if she can afford to buy meat.” Along with other subjects, Moore used the face of poverty to write a compelling, comprehensive, and fresh look on poverty today.

Her piece, “Below the line: Poverty in America” not only garnered critical praise with a November Sidney Award but it also gave new light to statistics made stale by a repetitive media. Moore’s piece raised the level of reporting on poverty by combining personal stories and data to create a dynamic argument that America’s formula for poverty does not work.

What other popular topics in media deserve a ‘human face’ of the problem? Do you think including personal stories propels greater change or do you think it only adds desired sentimentality?


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