THE IRIS CANADA STORY
OUR FIRST INVESTIGATION
Iris Canada is a 100-year-old African American woman who just got evicted from her home of 60+ years. The story outraged the San Francisco community and local politicians, and her case was covered by the press across the country and beyond. Housing rights activists spent months trying to protect her, but all their efforts failed.
We started investigating this case after all this remarkable coverage because we believed that the investigation should have gone further.
Who Wants to Evict a 100-Year-Old? (48Hills)
100-Year-Old Woman Facing Imminent Eviction (BrokeAssStuart)
The case raises many emotions, but we still have a lack of understanding about how it happened. The community feels paralyzed because the case is legally complex. We need a clearer picture of this complexity, and then to organize community dialogue involving politicians and community leaders.
We must be able to develop more creative solutions and change the outcome for Iris, in addition to amending legislation to prevent such evictions from happening in the future.
OUR JOURNALISTIC MODEL
Dialogue for Life is a media project and social-journalistic experiment. We're focused on investigating the major problems San Francisco currently suffers from: the housing affordability crisis; gentrification and displacement of people of color, the LGBTQ community, and local artists; problems in public education; ongoing police brutality; and the oppression of marginalized communities whose voices are not being heard.
To address this, we organize ongoing dialogue among different communities, especially between politicians and communities, to create new channels of social communication. We're changing media’s role from mediator to organizer of dialogue, providing people with a platform to speak for themselves.
This is a dialogical, community-focused, investigative journalism project involving a broad spectrum of stakeholders:
Community leaders, politicians, and officials
Investigative outlets and reporters
Politically engaged citizens
Marginalized and underrepresented communities
Anyone who supports meaningful solutions for social, political, and cultural problems in SF.
1. First, for each new investigation, we produce a long-form investigative article focused on the experiences of people who come from two different sides of a contentious issue. We explore their perspectives in detail, explaining complex concepts and legal issues that readers should understand.
2. Next, we interview activists and people who are actively engaged in other powerful social and political movements globally. It'll put our local problems into international perspective and draw out fresh solutions.
3. Then, we invite perspectives from an array of subject matter experts and thought leaders – psychoanalysts, sociologists, economists, anthropologists, philosophers, lawyers, artists, entrepreneurs, etc. (We draw heavily from the principles of "human-centered design" a.k.a. Design Thinking.)
4. Finally, we arrange dialogue in a public event forum between representatives of different communities, inviting politicians, officials, and citizens – aimed at solutions that can be implemented politically and legislatively.
Unfortunately, most newspapers can no longer afford to fund investigative journalism departments. We’re experimenting with new nonprofit models that are not limited by the page view economics of advertising-driven publishing.
The project is supported by local communities and will create new job opportunities for local journalists and support staff.
For more information, please contact us.