Our mission: What The Baltimore Banner journalists want to do for you

Published on: June 14, 2022 8:36 AM EDT|Updated on: June 14, 2022 3:48 PM EDT

6/8/22—Exterior of The Baltimore Banner office sign with the hanging banners.
Our nonprofit news organization is made possible by subscribers and donors who value storytelling that impacts and uplifts communities. Thank you for supporting our journalism.

We want the journalism we produce to make a difference in people’s lives.

To take that commitment seriously, we worked with each of our journalists to think deeply about how their work affects people and to craft individual mission statements that describe the specific impacts they aim to have.

We hope you see yourself and your own needs reflected in some of these mission statements, and that you will follow our journalists and join them in these efforts to make a difference.

As The Banner launches today, we want to share some of those mission statements with you. There are more coming — some of our reporters just started and we want to give them some time to think about their beats and how they plan to tackle them.

Here’s what we have so far:

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Born and raised in the city, I’ve lived the evolution of our local music and covered it since 2015. I know the influence Baltimore’s culture has had in society without receiving rightful credit. I seek to explain and celebrate the culture of Baltimore, including our music and fashion, as a universal language that brings us together and expresses who we are and what we feel.

—  Taji Burris, Music and Culture Reporter

Creativity is fundamental to a strong city. I help people appreciate Greater Baltimore’s literary, arts and theater communities. And my stories will bring attention to issues that affect the livelihood of local artists who inspire, reflect and shape our region.

—  Imani Spence, Arts and Community Reporter

Johns Hopkins University is not just a prestigious research institution that attracts students, doctors and patients from around the world. It is a major force in the Baltimore community. I show Baltimoreans how Hopkins is shaping our future and hold school officials accountable for delivering what the city needs from one of its biggest employers, property owners and health care providers.

—  Jessica Calefati, Education Enterprise Reporter

What happens beyond the headlines? I present deeper, complex narratives from the day’s news, like the local social worker turned U.S. arms negotiator and the Jane Doe who lived a lifetime not knowing who she was. My Baltimore stories peel back the layers of the human condition to show how we’re all connected.

—  Tim Prudente, Enterprise Reporter

During my two decades as a reporter, I’ve found that institutions — including police, prosecutors and judges — too often delay, obstruct and deny access to information as they seek to control narratives. I’m driven to confront that erosion of transparency and public trust to ensure residents learn vital information. I aim to amplify the voices and concerns of regular people who are not being heard by those institutions.

—  Justin Fenton, Investigative Reporter

The Baltimore area is a mystery, a work of art, a complex organism, a place where history is continually being made and, most of all, home. My beat calls me to be a detective, an artist, a scientist, a historian, and most of all, a person who cares deeply about my fellow Marylanders. I seek out the people, places, traditions and trends that tell us who we are and how we live in this time of intense change.

—  Julie Scharper, Enterprise Reporter

Baltimore residents pay the highest property tax rate in the state — so they have a right to expect that things should work. But what happens when things fall apart? I rely on readers like you to hold the city accountable on behalf of taxpayers and highlight the unsung heroes who are bootstrapping their own solutions to make Baltimore a better city.

—  Hallie Miller, Reporter

City Hall is where the powerful turn stump speeches into policy. I want to shine a light on the people, ideas and compromises that shape the programs that affect our lives, from crime plans to the universal basic income pilot. I hold elected leaders accountable to the promises they make and amplify what solutions communities want.

—  Emily Sullivan, Baltimore City Hall Reporter

City leaders have touted Baltimore’s $641 million in federal COVID stimulus as a “once in generation” opportunity to set the city on a better course. But will the government use this windfall to rescue small businesses, reinvigorate neighborhoods, and tackle intractable issues like violence and housing inequality? I help readers follow the money to see whether the city uses its cash to correct historic wrongs, spur economic recovery and improve essential services for Baltimoreans.

—  Adam Willis, Local Government Reporter

Maryland’s state government can feel distant and disconnected, but it often touches our daily lives in unseen ways. I watch over these complex bureaucracies and their leaders, and give people the information they need to hold their elected officials accountable and get the services they deserve.

—  Brenda Wintrode, State Government Reporter

Hey Baltimore! How are you? And I’m not just asking to be polite. I’m here to have a conversation about how you feel about everything from parenting to dating to Old Bay to fitness, and what that says about who we are and how we live. I’m a columnist who’s going to use my platform to talk to you, not at you or down to you. Sometimes you’ll laugh. Sometimes you’ll cry. And sometimes you won’t know what to do with what I’m saying. But you’re going to think about it, and feel something. And that’s a good start.

—  Leslie Gray Streeter, Columnist

My reporting allows people who have historically been marginalized and ignored to be seen and heard. By helping us improve our attention to, and understanding of, diversity, equity and inclusion, I hope to educate readers, dispel preconceived notions, and ultimately show the way that these groups impact life in the Baltimore region and beyond.

—  John-John Williams IV, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Reporter

I tell stories nestled in the distinct blocks of West Baltimore. I seek to highlight areas you don’t often hear about in the news and share the assorted experiences of any given city street. I hope storytelling knocks down borders and connects neighborhoods while empowering communities to celebrate their differences, share how they navigate obstacles and recognize the eclectic folks trying to make tomorrow better than yesterday.

—  Jasmine Vaughn-Hall, Neighborhood and Community Reporter (West Baltimore)