The term “food deserts” emerged in the mid-2000s as social scientists and medical researchers began studying neighborhoods without access to nutritious, reasonably priced food. In Dallas, these “deserts” are located mostly south of the Trinity River, in places that have endured the long-term effects of redlining. “Food apartheid” is the term adopted more recently by local groups that see food insecurity as the result of systemic racism.
Nearly two decades after the conversation around “food deserts” began, not much has changed. Is that because there isn’t a solution, or because we haven’t tried hard enough? Is it because we haven’t correctly identified the problems, or because we haven’t truly listened to the people who live in these “deserts”?
The Dallas Morning News and the Dallas Free Press, in partnership with the national Solutions Journalism Network, are looking for a reporter to spend the next five months listening to people in these communities, learning about how people in Dallas are trying to address food apartheid, and studying what is working in other U.S. cities. This reporting will be the basis of a dozen or more stories that will be published as part of this investigative project.
The work begins in November and lasts through the end of March. The pay is $15 an hour. A full-time (40 hours a week) contractor is preferred, but part-time will be considered. The reporter will work with an experienced journalist and editor, Sujata Dand, who will guide the project. We are especially interested in finding a reporter who understands and reflects the culture and diversity of the communities we will be listening to.
To apply, please send a resume, one-page cover letter and examples of journalism work to editor Sujata Dand at firstname.lastname@example.org.