Miller Charmaine

Charmaine's adventures in news writing and editing

Story Pitch 5

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Results of the Point-in-Time homeless person count

For this Monday, I was thinking of doing a follow-up on the story about the homeless count recently taken by the Alachua County Coalition for the Homeless and Hungry. The survey, which was meant to get demographic information from homeless people in the area as well as a physical count, was taken on Jan. 29. The story said the results of the count would be released on Feb.1, which was a Friday.

Coming in for my shift on the Monday after, I thought that it would be timely and newsworthy to do some reporting of the results.  But when I looked at an Alligator article on the same news, it didn’t mention a release of the results on Feb.1, but mid-February. I decided to call the writer of the WUFT story, Jessica Kegu, and we discussed which would be more newsworthy/worth pursuing.

Jessica told me that the results released Feb.1 were supposed to be very basic, such as the total number of homeless people counted. She told me the survey results would be released in greater detail in mid-February.

We both decided there would be more news in the detailed survey report, so I am hoping to chase this story later. I have already been in contact with Theresa Lowe, the executive director of the coalition, for another story. She is a valuable contact for stories concerning homelessness in the area. The thing is, I have already interviewed her as a stringer for the Alligator. Would asking her for an interview as a WUFT reporter be confusing or a conflict of interest? I was just wondering. If so, I  could easily assign this story to one of the online reporters or even a Web producer.

So this is my little dog-eared project.


Theresa Lowe, executive director of the Alachua County Coalition for the Homeless and Hungry

Attendees of the coalition’s monthly meeting


What trends did the survey from this year show? Are there any changes from last year, or over a range of years? What direction is this city headed in terms of helping the homeless? How will this data help the city allocate resources and better organizations helping with this issue? There was an abundance of homeless survey workers this year. Why do you think that is the case? Who handles the data, how does it get to the city, funding, organizations, etc.? Is the state involved?

I know this story may seem to convey a homeless person as just a number. I don’t want to do that. Getting homeless sources on this issue may be hard, but I’ll try to think creatively in the next couple of weeks about what I can do to make this more than a faceless statistics story.


Written by charmainemiller

February 9, 2013 at 5:40 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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