Hi from High Ground News
Sidewalk-level journalism for Memphis.

We cover Memphis neighborhoods with nuance and center the experience of residents. We expose Memphians to stories of their neighbors across the city. We seek to rebalance the news by exploring challenges while focusing on the people and solutions moving Memphis forward.


Feature Story The 2020 Trailblazer Award honored Memphis women making a significant contribution to preserving and celebrating the city's cultural heritage. Beautiful award statues were presented to each winner. (Cole Bradley)

Trailblazer Awards honored Memphis women who champion the city's cultural heritage

Last week's Trailblazer Awards honored nine individual women and the National Civil Rights Museum for their contributions preserving and celebrating Memphis' cultural heritage. 

Feature Story OrangeMound

Banks have to invest in the low-income communities surrounding their branches. What if they didn't?

The Community Reinvestment Acts mandates that banks of a certain size give back to the low-income communities they serve. A proposed CRA overhaul would expand where banks can invest and what they can investment in. What could those changes mean for Memphis?

Feature Story Lesley Brown Rawlings, director of capacity building with Beloved Community, facilitates a discussion with local organizations. The six-session conversation focuses on ensuring inclusion and equity in the workplace. (Dorian Spears)

Memphis nonprofits ask, "Are we inclusive? Are we equitable?"

With the help of Beloved Community, a group of local nonprofits have been examining their own internal practices and community-centered programs to improve inclusivity, diversity, authenticity, and equity. 

Feature Story On average, the Memphis Area Rideshare program comprises 300 commuters and 60 vanpools. Riders are matched by neighborhood, work location and hours.(Submitted)

Memphis Rideshare reduces emissions and builds community by taking cars off the road

The Shelby County Health Department’s partnership with Commute with Enterprise has earned high marks for its vanpooling program that includes employees from the VA Medical Center and Federal Corrections Institute. 

Feature Story podcast

Podcast: Building neighborhoods from housing to authentic narratives

Bradis Leverette and Crystal Chopin with Oasis of Hope discuss their work serving the Bickford-Bearwater neighborhoods and their new partnership with High Ground. We’re training residents to report neighborhood news.

Feature Story Memphis singer-songwriter Grace Askew will kick off the "Women Who Rock" series on February 9 at Wonder / Cowork / Create. (Heath Herring)

Women Working It: Grace Askew sits down with High Ground ahead of "Women Who Rock" speaker series

Memphian Grace Askew kicks off the "Women Who Rock" speaker series on February 9. She sat down with High Ground for a Q & A on music, business, and sisterhood.

Feature Story Sarah Gong (far right) and Kristin Thompson (far left) pose for a class picture with Sycamore School's second and third graders. They co-teach the combined grades. (Susan Kizzee)

Forget report cards and endless testing. The Sycamore School's students learn outside and at play.

With their kids approaching kindergarten and no ideal education options, three local women founded the Sycamore School. The hub for homeschoolers combines licensed teachers with present parents and emphasizes exploration, community, and self-directed learning alongside reading and arithmetic.

Feature Story A group of experts convened by the Urban Land Institute spent three days engaging stakeholders and studying several South Memphis parks. They presented their research findings at a public meeting on January 31. (A.J. Dugger)

Urban Land Institute studies South Memphis parks, makes suggestions for key improvements

The national Urban Land Institute was in town last week to study parks in South Memphis. They presented their findings in a public meeting that explored the role these parks play in neighborhood revitalization and how to activate them with limited resources.

Feature Story Miss Bluff City 2019, Simone Wilson, poses with North Memphis Boys & Girls Clubs members. Wilson's focus area for her service to the community is working with youth at Boys & Girls club.  (Submitted)

North Memphis Boys & Girls Clubs offer youth cafe, store, and more

The Kid Cafe and club member store are among the programs exclusive to North Memphis' two Boys & Girls Clubs.

Feature Story podcast

Podcast: Art, history, and amplifying communities with Yancy Villa-Calvo

Yancy Villa-Calvo discusses her work helping communities research and visualize their culture and history through art. She's currently working with high school students in Orange Mound to design a mural of history and future hopes.

Feature Story L to R: Community Correspondents Ian Randolph, Ivy Arnold, and Monique Rials listen attentively to a conversation on journalist ethics lead by trainer, Micaela Watts. (Cat Evans)

Want to write your neighborhood's news? Apply to our Community Correspondents training program.

High Ground News is looking for six North Memphis residents interested in researching and reporting their neighborhood's stories. Passion and curiosity are required. Previous journalism experience is not.

Feature Story On February 7, “A Family Affair” will feature music, discussions, and games aimed at raising awareness of the need for organ donation among black Mid-Southerners. (Mid-South Transplant Foundation)

Memphis needs more African American organ donors.

The Mid-South Transplant Foundation and partners Hope City Church and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity are throwing a party with food, games, music, and discussions on the need for organ donation among black Mid-Southerners.

Feature Story Derion Lipford films his pitch proposal for the judges of ArtUp's North Memphis Incubator. (Sheri Neely)

ArtUp offers North Memphis entrepreneurs $2,500, training, and chance to pitch to investors

ArtUp is giving 10 creative entrepreneurs an opportunity to build a business that fits their passion. The fellows will receive $2,500 towards startup costs, a 12-week small-business training course, and a chance to pitch to local investors.

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On the Ground:
North Memphis

We're reporting from North Memphis from January through July 2020. 

From Uptown to Douglass, we'll dive into individual neighborhoods and look at challenges and on-the-ground solutions across the area. 

Have a connection to any of our 13 On the Ground neighborhoods? 
You can help shape the series.
Stop by our weekly community newsroom or email [email protected] with story ideas, feedback, or questions. 
What is Solutions Journalism?

Many of High Ground's in-depth stories take an approach known as solutions journalism.

Solutions journalism:
  • explores challenges but focuses on responses—the solutions
  • asks for evidence—proof of need, success, & progress
  • asks complex questions—whys & hows
  • includes the voices of those most affected by challenges and solutions
We asks how challenges and responses affect Memphis' diverse communities and focus on neighborhoods and voices often excluded from these critical conversations.