The NLIHC 2015 Media Award goes to Mikel Livingston and Steven Porter from the Lafayette Journal & Courier for their news series, “The Great Chicago Migration Myth.” The series was published in October and November 2014.
NLIHC’s Annual Housing Media Award recognizes journalists who make a dedicated effort to inform the public about the disparities between those in America who are well housed and those who are poorly housed or homeless. Articles that were published between January 1 and December 31, 2014 were eligible for consideration.
“The Great Chicago Migration Myth” analyzes a long-held belief in Lafayette, IN that thousands of low income black families, after receiving housing vouchers as a result of the demolition of public housing in Chicago beginning in 1999, packed up their belongings and migrated to Lafayette, bringing with them increased crime, drug use, and burdens on local social services. “The Great Chicago Migration Myth” combines personal interviews with analysis of census data presented in compelling graphs and charts to demonstrate that the supposed mass influx of Chicago’s displaced poor to Lafayette is largely myth. The data show that most residents stayed in Chicago after their housing complexes closed. Livingston and Porter suggest that the beliefs and arguments about the migration lack substantive evidence and are based on racial and social fears and prejudice.
In describing the series, the Lafayette Journal & Courier says that the reporters, “assisted by data editor Jennifer Christos, spent more than four months reporting and researching this series. They conducted nearly 50 interviews, analyzed more than two dozen U.S. Census databases containing demographic and migration statistics, reviewed usage data for Section 8 vouchers and local homeless shelters, analyzed Chicago Housing Authority reports and sociological research studies, and interpreted IRS migration data. In addition, they analyzed a massive crime data set compiled by Lafayette Police Department crime analyst Steven Hawthorne containing details of 165,490 arrests in Tippecanoe County from 1999 through September 20, 2014.”
NLIHC will present the 2014 Housing Media Award to Mikel Livingston and Steven Porter for their fine reporting at its 2015 Housing Legislative Forum on March 1.
The article, “The Great Chicago Migration Myth,” can be found at: http://www.jconline.com/story/news/2014/10/17/truth-black-white/17293817/