How I Reported the Story: Pantries at Athens area colleges, student centers grow to combat hunger

Read how reporters Allison Caso and Brieanna Smith wrote this feature for the Athens Banner-Herald: Pantries at Athens area colleges, student centers grow to combat hunger. Written by Allison Caso.

This article aimed to discuss the prevalent and often overlooked issue of student food insecurity and provide resources for students in Athens-Clarke County. 

We expanded our focus past just the University of Georgia’s campus and researched the University of North Georgia’s Oconee Campus, Athens Technical College and campus ministry groups. 

We observed several of the food pantries to better understand how they operate and take appropriate photographs. Brieanna Smith said this observation method was new to her and she enjoyed the hands-on approach. Something I have noticed through doing in-person observation is the learning curve of the group I’m working with and myself. Often the organization is not used to during interviews or having reporters come and observe and vice versa. Therefore, reporters should go in with a short list and game plan of what they need and want to accomplish at the organization to put both parties at ease. 

This article also taught us about obstacles with obtaining information due to organization’s policies and protection of people’s information. We had to continually follow up and do several rounds of iterations to make sure we included all the necessary information. We also learned to put the newest and most relevant information at the beginning. Initially, we primarily focused on college food pantries that have been functional for several years, but we then switched the focus to the newer Presbyterian Student Center Food Pantry to make it most informational to our readers. 

Learn more about food insecurity on college campus and how to cover it here:

The Hope Center’s report: #REALCOLLEGE 2021: Basic Needs Insecurity During the Ongoing Pandemic

From the Education Data Initiative: Average Cost of Food per Month for a College Student

Allison Caso is a fourth-year finance and journalism student at The University of Georgia. She has reported for The Athens-Banner Herald, The Borgen Project, and Grady Newsource. 
Brieanna Smith is a fourth-year journalism student at the University of Georgia with work appearing in the Athens-Banner Herald, The Red & Black, Infusion Magazine and 90.1 WABE Atlanta. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *