What is ‘Talk With Us?’

The project uses mobile video, geographic information systems data, text elements, photos and interactive graphics to create a conversation about poverty in Oklahoma City between residents of low-income neighborhoods and area leaders. It is intended to foster awareness and discussion of poverty issues in Oklahoma City among a variety of stakeholders.

How did the project begin?

It was made possible by a grant from the Online News Association Challenge Fund for Innovation in Journalism Education. The University of Oklahoma was one of 12 winners for 2014-2015. The Challenge Fund is supported by the Excellence and Ethics in Journalism Foundation, the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Democracy Fund and the Rita Allen Foundation.

Video: How have students benefitted?

YouTube video

Who’s involved?

Students and faculty from OU’s Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication and other university departments collaborated with journalists at nonprofit news organization Oklahoma Watch to produce “Talk With Us.” Students from two Oklahoma City high schools, Harding Charter Preparatory High School and Santa Fe South High School, also participated. Contributions also came from geographic information systems offices at University Libraries and the Anne and Henry Zarrow School of Social Work. Guidance was sought from the Urban League of Greater Oklahoma City and media serving minority populations, including El Nacional and The Black Chronicle.

How are interviews conducted?

Students and reporters recorded interviews using iPad Mini or iPod Touch devices with small boom microphones. The purpose was to employ grass-roots technology to reinforce the idea that residents’ voices could be easily captured and then presented to decision-makers. The intent was to provide a means of access that did not previously exist for these residents, as well as a feedback loop so they can see how, and how well, these leaders responded. The videos were edited on iMovie, a basic app, and were kept to anywhere from about 30 seconds to a minute and a half.


Is the project over?

No. Videos will continue to be recorded and posted, along with databases and visualizations, in an effort to further enrich understanding and awareness of issues in low-income neighborhoods. Follow-up stories will be reported. At least one public forum will be held to discuss problems raised in the video project. That forum is scheduled for April 16 in south Oklahoma City. Analysis of the interviews and of previous coverage of the issues, as well as of social-media and other responses to the project, are being conducted.