Video: When neighbors make the news

Newsroom staff rarely reflect the diversity of the communities they cover. They rarely include residents' voices or see their lived experiences as expertise. We think they should.

Meet our first eight Community Correspondents.

HGN Stories Within | Elevating Authentic Voice from High Ground News on Vimeo.

The Community Correspondents program, briefly titled Community Contributors program, is designed to take Memphians with no background in journalism through six weeks of rigorous training and mentorship to equipped them with the skills needed to report on their neighborhoods with nuance, truth, and care. 

Related: "Who tells the story? High Ground program trains Memphians to report their neighborhoods' news "

The inaugural class was funded by a grant from Facebook. From it, Correspondents were paid for their time in class and first story published with High Ground News. They were also provided laptops to use and keep as they continue in their freelance journalism careers.

The eight Correspondents live in four Memphis neighborhoods that are both under-resourced and under- or misrepresented by most traditional news outlets. Their stories cover their neighborhoods—Frayser, The Heights, Orange Mound, and South Memphis. Each neighborhood is also part of High Ground's On the Ground embedded neighborhood journalism series. 

The Correspondent program included a trainer and mentors from three local news organizations: The Commercial Appeal, The Daily Memphian, and High Ground. The collaboration underscores that the need for representative journalism is not an issue unique to High Ground or even Memphis.

It also provided the Correspondents an opportunity to make a personal connection with three separate news organizations that hire freelance journalists and gain exposure to different styles of writing and types of publications. 

High Ground is gearing up for two more Correspondent programs in different areas of North Memphis. If you or someone you know lives in North Memphis and is interested in freelance, neighborhood-based reporting, email [email protected]

Two of the first eight Correspondents have already published their first stories. They can be found here:

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The remaining six are in production and should publish over the next four to six weeks. Subscribe to our free weekly e-edition at to follow their progress and read their stories.  
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Read more articles by Cole Bradley.

Cole Bradley is a native Memphian and graduate of the University of Memphis. Cole's worked locally as a researcher and community engagement strategist and began contributing to High Ground in Jan 2017.