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Covering Poverty in the Suburbs

About This Course

President Lyndon Johnson declared “war" on poverty 50 years ago. While poverty is still a national crisis, there is one key change: More poor people today live in suburbs than in major cities or rural areas.

Poverty in the suburbs is often hidden, harder to identify and harder to address because the U.S. safety net was not designed with suburbia in mind. And poverty is under-covered; the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism found that poverty coverage gets less than one percent of the news hole in major mainstream news outlets.

Learn how you can find and tell powerful stories about this growing class of Americans: the suburban poor.


McCormick SRI covering suburban poverty tip sheet

Stories covering suburban poverty:

What Will I Learn?

  • Surprising facts about suburban poverty
  • How to uncover the stories in your communities
  • How to put a face on the story
  • How to recognize and overcome challenges to covering poverty inside and outside the newsroom

Who Should Take this Course?

Reporters, editors, producers, bloggers and others who cover economics, neighborhoods and suburban communities, social injustice and human interest stories.

Course Instructor

Barbara Raab

Barbara Raab

Barbara Raab was senior producer of the NBC News initiative "In Plain Sight: Poverty in America" in 2013, and a producer and writer for NBC Nightly News for 20-plus years. Later this month, she joins the Ford Foundation as program officer for media and social justice grantmaking. She is a longtime adjunct professor of broadcast and interactive journalism at the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism, and a frequent freelance contributor to publications including The New York Times, and


Robert R. McCormick Foundation

Robert R. McCormick Foundation

The Robert R. McCormick Foundation is a nonprofit organization committed to fostering communities of educated, informed and engaged citizens. Through philanthropic programs, Cantigny Park and museums, the foundation helps develop citizen leaders and works to make life better in our communities. The foundation was established as a charitable trust in 1955, upon the death of Col. Robert R. McCormick, the longtime editor and publisher of the Chicago Tribune. The foundation is one of the nation's largest foundations, with more than $1 billion in assets.

This $30 course is free thanks to the generous support of the Robert R. McCormick Foundation.

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