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Good News Baltimore: Changing the City's Bad Rep Good News Baltimore: Changing the City's Bad Rep
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Good News Baltimore: Changing the City's Bad Rep

by Jamar Jones

April 26, 2013

I’m a lifetime resident of Baltimore, Maryland—home of the Orioles, Ravens, delicious crab, and a bad reputation. Growing up on the west side of the city, I was exposed to shootings, drugs, and pointless violence, which could have easily changed my life for the worst. I consider myself one of the lucky ones because of my two loving parents who kept me involved in extracurricular activities to keep me busy and out of trouble. After graduating from Northwestern High School, I attended Morgan State University, where I studied Broadcast Production.

I began my career at WEAA 88.9FM, where I produced radio commercials, edited shows and performed technical director duties for live broadcasts, but it wasn’t fulfilling and it was too demanding for all the wrong reasons. Through my involvement with radio, I interviewed the university representative for Red Bull and he asked me to participate in a citywide project with other universities.

I was charged with creating a short film about Baltimore and I called it "Product of My Environment." Although I had no background in video, I started developing a compelling story featuring people who had struggled and persevered through drugs, crime, and impoverished living conditions. The doc was screened at the Charles Theater, where it received a standing ovation that I did not expect. People really connected with the characters in the video, and it made me realize that these were the stories I had to tell.

A year after the screening, I developed Good News Baltimore (GNB). GNB was created to cover positive stories rather than the crime that my city was known for. My mission was to provide the people of Baltimore with positive and progressive information that could also promote solutions.

Here at GNB, we create documentaries and cinematic short stories to display what community leaders, nonprofits, and small businesses are doing to make positive impacts in their neighborhoods. In addition, we highlight local up-and-coming artists to showcase the creative indie music scene in the city. GNB is important to the community simply because we create videos about the people, for the people. Our videos feature ordinary city residents making a difference by getting involved and displaying their passion to help others.

In the near future, we plan to develop programming that will connect with viewers in their home. Our new segments will offer people easy ways to prepare healthy meals, increase productivity with technology, and become better money managers. All of this and more will be tools to help educate, inspire, and entertain.

In the past we have featured representatives from various nonprofits such as the Bea Gaddy Women and Children Center, Blue Water Baltimore, Loving Arms, Inc., and Baltimore Dance Crew Project. Those features covered topics of domestic violence, homeless youth, the importance of healthy waterways, and innovative after-school programs.

Operating in a market that thrives on negativity, in a society heavily saturated with media, we face the challenge of producing positive content that stands out among a sea of adversity. The need for GNB has been confirmed by the positive feedback from our viewers. Our greatest challenge is producing our videos with little time and resources. Yet, despite these obvious obstacles, Good News Baltimore has produced quality, informative, entertaining content, and will continue to do so for years to come.

We currently produce videos during the fall and release them over a three-month period in the spring. Our goal is to double the amount of content we create and distribute online over a six-month period. Using our Kickstarter campaign we plan to purchase more production equipment and revamp our studio space to increase productivity and maintain consistency as a reliable source for positive and progressive information. Please support us if you'd like to inspire the community of Baltimore by getting their stories out to a wider audience.

This project will be featured in GOOD's Saturday series 
Push for Good—our guide to crowdfunding creative progress.

Hang out with your neighbors on the last Saturday of April (a day we're calling "Neighborday"). Click here to say you'll Do It, and here to download GOOD's Neighborday Toolkit and a bunch of other fun stuff

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