As the bitter cold of winter segues into a far more inviting spring, we have noticed a similar change in our interaction with the Tioga, NIcetown and Allegheny neighborhoods. After hearing Professor Harper explain how our groups would eventually break the barrier of the neighborhoods and become immersed in the community and culture, we were somewhat skeptical. With so many differences – be it cultural, financial, etc. – between students and residents, it seemed as if this barrier was insurmountable. How could we possibly develop a comfortable relationship with these communities when their experiences with the media have been based upon all the negative aspects of the areas?
At first, we were convinced that this would be a long and trying experience. We expected roadblocks at every turn, skepticism of our mission and reluctance to be interviewed. The transportation assignment seemed to confirm the suspicion at first - it took hours to accumulate just a few interviews on film. When we interviewed a parent about school transportation, he was quick to ask for identification before speaking with us. This was a logical response, of course, but one cannot ignore the fact that it supported our very thesis.
However, during the Quality of Life assignment, our assumptions were proven wrong by Hakim Hopkins. Hopkins was one of the most open and inviting people I have ever had the pleasure of speaking with, as were the other store employees and customers. Following that, we had similar experiences with other businesses and people. Were we truly becoming immersed in a community, or perhaps was it a matter of covering positive news in areas that have become associated with the negative? In either case, the outcome is the same – we really are being welcomed into the area by a strong and optimistic community.
Group 10 - Allegheny/Tioga/Nicetown, Brian Myszkowski, Lauren Pappas, Laura Yacoe