The importance of local journalism from Amethyst J. Davis, founder of the Harvey World Herald

This is a guest post from Cary Robbins, a member of the Chicago Undercovered class, which prioritizes reporting on Chicago’s South and West Side communities.

When Amethyst J. Davis came back to her hometown of Harvey, Illinois, at the beginning of the pandemic, she was shocked to see that nothing had changed. Coming from New York City, where everything was shut down, she was not expecting to see the city still running as usual. She was shocked, again, as she tried to find out what was happening in her hometown but struggled to find news coverage. 

On October 3, Davis came to DePaul University to talk with Journalism 374’s class “Chicago Undercovered” about starting her own newspaper in a neighborhood that has been under-represented in the news.  

Davis has a policy research background, so she thought if she could not find media coverage of Harvey, Illinois, most people must have the same struggle. Davis now runs, by herself, The Harvey World Herald, a free newspaper that reports on the news in Harvey.  

Davis writes it all. She covers arts, politics, meetings, education and more. She quit her job and started the newspaper all on her own.  

She says that building trust with the community has been important for her work. It does not matter that she grew up there and went to the neighborhood high school. She still needs to build trust with the community due to the lack of ethical and fair reporting the neighborhood has seen in the past. 

Davis came back to her hometown not knowing where to look for news of her neighborhood. Now, she is single-handedly creating news for others to see what is happening in their city. As I continue my path to becoming a journalist, I will carry with me the story Davis told of her favorite news article she has written for the Harvey World Herald.  

Davis said she wrote a story about a school performance of the musical Dream Girls. Not only was she happy to have been able to see and write about the event, but her favorite part was hearing other people come up to her, saying they had enjoyed the piece. Even if people were not able to attend the musical, they were still able to experience it through her writing. That is what good journalism means to me: sharing all of the moments with one another about what is happening in our community. 

Published by spjonadepaul

Official website for DePaul University's Society of Professional Journalists chapter.

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