OUR STORIES | Sara Lopez: ‘People from inside the community, working in the community’


“I have been working hard revamping and increasing the traffic of the Powderhorn 365 photography project Facebook page,” reported Sara Lopez. “My boss is quite pleased because we are reaching way more people with Facebook! From 300 likes we went up to 360 likes! And between 30-50 people see posts now! This is huge because the site was literally dead just a few weeks ago. Please see the link: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Powderhorn365/95089249677

The fall cohort of Media Skills Fellows, funded by the Bush Foundation, completed ten weeks of intensive learning on November 14, with the ripple effects already spreading out into various Twin Cities communities. The fellowship program focused on improving media skills with the specific goal of using these skills for better communication in/about/on behalf of each participant’s community. This article is one of several articles introducing the fall cohort of Media Skills Fellows and what they learned and accomplished.

Sara Lopez has used the Media Skills Fellowship training in her neighborhood and in her work for the Powderhorn Park Neighborhood Association. But more than that, she has explored storytelling for people in her neighborhood, beginning with an article about transgender hairstylists. She talked in the workshop about feeling responsibility for the women she wrote about, and about the responsibility that comes with practicing journalism.

At the final meeting, reflecting on the fellowship, Lopez said, “It was powerful to have people from inside the community, working in the community – suddenly the point of view is much more interesting, complicated, much more textured in terms of understanding a community better, or finding a story that people missed. It’s more authentic.”

“I cannot finish explaining how eye opening this has been,” Lopez said in her evaluation of the Media Skills Fellowship.

Reporting for this article supported in part by the Bush Foundation.