I made brief reference in the post to a community-funded project by the Pottstown Mercury:
— Steve Buttry (@stevebuttry) July 23, 2014
Thanks to Nancy March, editor of the Merc (and a previous guest blogger here in our days as Digital First Media colleagues), for letting me use this email about the project as a guest post:
We extended a paid internship to our Chips Quinn intern Miica Patterson for an additional 23 weeks to work on this project. I don’t assign her any other work, and every story runs with a note at the end saying reporting is funded in part by the Pottstown Area Health and Wellness Foundation. She is learning new journalism skills and strengthening others — video, interviewing, engagement, writing, photography.
The work involves a lot of community engagement aimed at promoting cheap and accessible ways to exercise and eat right. Miica organizes and manages a “Mercury Mile” lunchtime exercise break every Thursday at noon to emphasize that you can get exercise in your work day. Last week we did yoga in a downtown park.
We have had zumba and agility classes after work in public parks, features on the community garden and cooking with vegetables, and a wonderful community engagement effort in the Fourth of July parade in which Bike Pottstown, health and wellness foundation staffers, Stop the Violence marchers and The Mercury family joined forces to show off our causes. Here’s my column about that.
Rather than a conflict of interest, the foundation funding is a joining of community interests. It allows us to report on and engage people in a project that we would not be able to manage with our staff resources. The project was inspired by news — a health needs assessment that showed obesity and health-related concerns on the rise in the Pottstown tri-county area — and is intended to lead the community in improving itself.
— Fit 4 Life (@mercfit4life) July 21, 2014