We here at BlogForArizona are big fans and supporters of local journalism. What locally-focused reporters do in watchdogging and uncovering the doings of local government is truly foundational to real democracy. We subscribe, reference, and rely on local reporters for our commentary and coverage – and we encourage our readers to do the same.
Today I want to highlight and praise the Arizona Luminaria.
They are a non-profit locally focused newsroom, founded, run and reported by locals. Readers can find out much more about the founding and mission of Luminaria by attending TheDGT.org’s session with co-founder and Principle Executive Irene McKisson on May 1st at 1pm.
A great example of the kind of coverage that one simply can’t get anywhere else is the series of articles by local investigative reporter John Washington of the Luminaria (see also his personal website) on the abnormally high death rates in the Pima County Jail:
Nov. ’22: ‘Unconstitutional hole’: How Pima County jail deaths — one recently ruled a homicide — are part of a grim pattern
April ’23: Pima County considers building a new jail as the 1980s-era facility crumbles and bookings increase
April ’23: Sheriff Nanos cancels attendance at Pima County jail panel following advice from county attorney’s office
April ’23: Jail grievances: “I need my heart medication before I have another heart attack that would be 100% preventable…”
John’s coverage is deeply researched and knowledgeable, and examines and honors the very personal costs to Pima County residents for the neglect and broken institutions that underlie the problem. Every word of the series should be read by everyone in Pima County. Only by surfacing and exploring the real causes of such an intractable local problem can we have any hope of fixing it.