Great local-global connection but where are the stories?

First posted on the DC SPJ site.

Last Friday CBS News did a story about how Americans are craving different spices. NPR did the same story two weeks earlier.

At the time of the NPR piece I did a blog entry here (Getting a local story from international seasonings) and on my personal blog (A spicy nation — and why. Local-Global stories waiting to happen) urging journalists to look at the local-global connection.

And still, with such a fun topic and with two major news organizations looking at it, no one has bothered to look at the local connection. Naturally, I have another rant about this lack of imagination at my site, NPR gets there ahead of CBS, but where are the local stories.

Bottom line is that the idea of local-local-local has to include the rest of the world.But damn few people see it.

I was especially unkind to the DC-Baltimore media. Here is a major company in our area that is significantly affected by demographic changes because if immigrantion and yet no one is talking about the connection.

Just a little effort at the Census Bureau web site and one can quickly discover that of all the foreign-born in Fairfax County, 50 percent are from Asia. Another 30 percent come from Latin America. Those two numbers alone should say something about how the market for spices has changed.

Oh, and foreign born in Fairfax county accounts for about 25 percent of the population.

Foreign born in Montgomery County represent more than 27 percent of the county’s population. Immigrants from Asia and Latin America each constitute about 35 percent of the foreign born population. Africans and Europeans together represent about another 25 percent.

So maybe this mix of immigrants has a different impact on what spices or seasonings are sold in local stores.

How can one say that what goes on with 25 percent of the population in two major communities in the Washignton, DC area is not worthy of coverage?

Let’s face it, too many local publications ignore or don’t see the local immigrant populations as a news source for stories other than the immigration issue.

The Washington Post was doing a pretty good job a few years ago digging into the local immigrant communities. As the reporters covering that beat (all two of them) moved on, the amount of coverage dropped. But at least the Post had someone on the beat.

How many other local news organizations can honestly claim they cover their immigrant communities expect when the story involves immigration law or some other source of violence in the community?

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