Aubrey Whelan is originally from Landsdale but she now lives in Philadelphia. She has been a reporter for The Philadelphia Inquirer for about six years now. Aubrey has previously done work reporting on how trumps policies relate to Philadelphia but she has recently been reporting on the opioid crisis in Philadelphia for about a year now. Some of the stories she writes about focus on homelessness, Kensignton, and camp policies. Aubrey made it a clear point that she doesn’t believe good journalism is just bringing awareness, it’s also about finding and presenting a solution, which I also agree with. She also mentioned how people who aren’t from the area tend to come into Kensington to then report about it being a war zone and a horrible place. However, they fail to realize that it is also a neighborhood in which people live and children to go to school in. Which I also feel very strongly about, there is a lot more to Kensington and I feel like people just categorize it to be this waste land. I find it really frustrating also when people come in to raise “awareness” but at the end of the day they just go back to where they came from. As Aubrey stated, we already know whats happening. What we really need to know is what can be done to bring about change and help to the community.
I also thought it was important that Aubrey stated how 75 percent of overdoses were in homes and around South Philly. Most people tend to focus on Kensington because it is an area in which addiction is visible because people tend to use in public. However, I think it is really important to focus on these other areas that unlike Kensignotn are trying to be invisible to the public. I think it would be really interesting and important to see how peoples lives in South Philly are differently affected by their environments and policies. They may propose new solution ideas that may have not been proposed or considered in Kensington due to the change of environment, which could potentially help people across different areas as well. Aubrey also stated that drugs touch neighborhoods in different ways. For example, there was a neighborhood in which Fentanyl was being advertised as crack. There were people who had survived decades of using crack and they were now being introduced to Fentanyl. They had no tolerance for opioids so they were immediately overdosing. This also relates to why I believe it is important to focus on talking to people in different neighborhoods. I think it would really help widen the lens on the topic.
Aubrey explained to us how it is easier to talk to people if you have a very specific issue or topic in mind. Instead of approaching someone by asking them how they are, you should introduce yourself and ask them a direct question about an issue you have in mind. I thought it was really important that she mentioned when she talks to people she tries to make sure that they’re aware that she genuinely cares about them and their experiences and not just the story. Personally, I believe that it is a privilege to have someone be willing to open up to you about their experiences. I think it is something that should be treated with care and respect. No one owes it to a reporter to tell them anything and I personally am very appreciative of anyone who allows me to get a glimpse of their world. I really loved that Aubrey told the class that she tries to move beyond journalism that just shows something is bad and instead tries to focus on serving a higher purpose. I believe should be every journalist motive.