Lessons from our downtown Phoenix discussion

By Kelsey Linn

imageThis weekend, a group of people active in the downtown Phoenix community came together for the PIN Bureau’s Coffee, Bagels and Downtown Phoenix Discussion. The event was extremely helpful for the Bureau and its students. There was talk of hopes for the future and what would need to happen to achieve these goals. There were also key lessons about planning an event and community engagement that will help the Bureau in upcoming semesters. The discussion served as a great stepping-stone in integrating the PIN Bureau into downtown Phoenix community involvement.

The discussion focused what downtown Phoenix does well and what areas it could improve upon as well as productive ways to engage the community. Just as there are many elements to making a city, there are many elements to consider while discussing the future of one as well. Transportation, urban design, art, education, politics and finances were all brought up during the discussion as possibilities to enhance the experience of living and working downtown.

One goal of the discussion was to figure out what the PIN Bureau should do next to advance the conversation. One recurring theme was the history of downtown Phoenix and the importance of this on future reporting. It seems to be an element that some of the attendees think is missing in downtown reporting. Downtown Phoenix has an interesting history that young students, or students from out of state, may be missing.

Edward Jensen received his undergraduate degree from Arizona State University in urban studies.  He suggests working some of these classes or topics into the curriculum for Cronkite Students “to get a broader context on how cities are and how cities work.” This would help journalists report on the development going in the Phoenix urban area.

Barbara Snyder works in community and municipal relations for Arizona State University’s downtown Phoenix campus. Snyder is passionate about all of the different events going on downtown and has been attending a variety of them for years. Snyder believes that students are often unaware of all of these events and the next step is to “find a way to get those interesting venues in the attention of the students.”


Participants in the Coffee, Bagels and Downtown Phoenix event discuss development and the history of the downtown area. (Photo by Samantha Shotzbarger)

Some other takeaways from the event:

• Background Information: While reporting on an event downtown, learn the history of that specific area or the company moving into the location. When reporting on a community, it is important to get to know the community.

• Importance of location for reporting and engagement: All of the attendees were in agreement that it’s important for the PIN Bureau’s event to be outside of the Cronkite School. With reporting on the community and trying increase engagement, it is important to get out and interview in the places you are reporting on. Also, it is much more of a neutral environment.

• Engagement is about relationships: An essential part of community engagement is going out and meeting as many people in the community as you can. You must build a professional relationship deeper than an introduction to make people in the community comfortable with sharing their stories.

Click here to share your perspective on downtown Phoenix development.


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