Two years, two hundred stories — all under the banner of Two Americas.
Our team set out to produce reports that expanded the America you know by illuminating the America you might not have heard about. But part of that was recognizing how much we didn't know.
Journalism is an imperfect science. In any story, we distill a complex subject into a CliffsNotes summary. We can cram a person's life's work into a paragraph. We try to convey what we experience in full view on the ground into a few square feet on a TV monitor, or a few square inches on a cell phone.
It's not perfect, but it is essential.
It's essential to showcase free food fridges in Albany, New York, to witness a group session for kinship caregivers in Tucson, Arizona, and to meet individuals battling homelessness, addressing PTSD, or just growing up at a time of extreme possibility and extreme challenge.
These were people we hadn't met, places we hadn't visited – or, if we had, not in this way.
I've been to every state in the continental U.S., but I can't say I had ever experienced Florida like I did earlier this year when I sat with Black business owners in Port St. Lucie and spoke about how their small city had become a success story for equity. I hadn't traveled through Mississippi like I did when my teammate took me to his hometown, a town starving for business after being cut off from the main highway. I hadn't spent time in Kentucky the way I did after tornadoes devastated Mayfield.
What we saw in these places was more than most ever get to see, yet it's still a sliver of the full scope. But within their stories were – and are – wider stories of America. These are stories that underscore why it matters so much to keep learning, to keep challenging our perceptions, to keep resisting the urge to stay cocooned in what we think we know.
As of this story, the Two Americas banner is going away. Replacing it is a new charge with a similar mission.
It's called America Forward.
Starting in September, we will focus on solutions. We are surrounded by complex challenges in our communities, cities, and country. Who's working to address them? What's already in play? What works – and what's a work in progress?
Everywhere we turn, we see people trying. We will amplify them, and their efforts.
There will always be so much we all don't know — from the farthest coast to the nearest block. Our goal, every two minutes, two stories — two years — is to carry on the complexity and humanity of Two Americas.
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