Jeremy Hay looks for ways to work with talented people to create sustainable news and information media infrastructures in underserved communities that have been neglected by the media. Some approaches he thinks are important include training young adults as reporters under the supervision of a professional journalist; aiming to reach an audience of millennials; working closely with community institutions and agencies to create productive news and information networks; and including enterprise reporting in the content mix. He is currently working with residents in East Palo Alto on EPANow, a media service in that city.
Q: How do low-income, underserved communities develop their own media infrastructure and service?
A: Through working with EPANow, a media outlet being built in East Palo Alto, I’ve learned that residents must power the process of creating powerful local media infrastructure, that they must be the face of that process, and that youth and young adults are keys to success.
Posts by Jeremy
While I am not superfluous to the process, I am of necessity secondary. Ego has to be set aside to achieve the mission — my role is not even to guide, it is to pitch in and help.
Jeremy Hay worked as a tenant organizer in the Bronx, as an archiving clerk for the Actors Equity union, and cleaned houses before moving from New York in 1992 to take a job as an office assistant at the Tenderloin Times in San Francisco’s impoverished central city. Soon he became a reporter and, in those 30 square blocks of people who were headed up, down and sideways, he came to love — and feel most useful — reporting on society’s margins. The Tenderloin was a place whose residents were overlooked and neglected even as they strove to survive and thrive, and in the years since, Hay has searched out such places everywhere he has worked. Since 2001 he has been a reporter in Sonoma County at The Press Democrat. He has covered gangs, police and aging. He was a lead reporter on a team that won a George Polk award for coverage of globalization, and has been further recognized for his reporting on neighborhood poverty, homeless youth, public sector benefits and an Indian tribe.
Information on this page is from the fellowship year.