The Buffalo Exchange is a new collaborative online journalism venue created to challenge mainstream media representation of life in Buffalo, NY. The Exchange hopes to provide critical analysis of the problems facing this city, while also showing neighborhoods and communities in new light, giving voice to stories underrepresented in the news today. The Buffalo Exchange is run in conjunction with the “Weaving the Streets” initiative created by the Weave and St. Lawrence University’s Rich F. Brush Gallery.
The blog currently features three contributors:
Steve Peraza, a PhD candidate in History at the University of Buffalo, is a veteran Weave contributor who has been blogging about urban poverty since 2008. For The Buffalo Exhange, he will focus on the creation of community gardens on previously abandoned land in Buffalo. As he documents these projects photographically, he will provide investigative blog content that examines contextual issues such as community empowerment, gentrification, and urban agriculture.
Derek King, an architectural historian with Preservation Studios (a Buffalo-based consulting firm specializing in historical preservation), will bring a keen eye for architectural detail and urban planning to The Buffalo Exchange. His work will focus on the relationship between the city of Buffalo’s focus on large-scale urban development initiatives and the many small-scale, grassroots efforts to revitalize communities that have been shaped by poverty and deindustrialization. As a citizen journalist, he will seek out voices, examples, and lessons that may be otherwise left out of mainstream news and official political narratives.
Jordan Pescrillo, who is based in the education sector through her work with Americorps ABLE (Ability to Build Lives through Education) and the International Institute in Buffalo, brings to The Buffalo Exchange a strong background in working with refugees from Nepal and elsewhere. Her contributions to the project will focus on creating alternative and more accessible means through which members of refugee communities in Buffalo, particularly young people, can articulate their own perspectives on local issues and “speak back to the headlines.” Her investigative blogging will provide detailed context surrounding the photographic and spoken-word materials that form the core of her fieldwork.
The Weave seeks to contribute to positive social change and the cultivation of an informed citizenry by providing critical perspectives on important stories, voices, and processes that are not receiving sufficient public attention. Originally created at St. Lawrence University and inspired by the example of projects such as War News Radio, Project Censored, and Dropping Knowledge, the Weave is a small but determined response to media consolidation (the concentration of more and more media power in fewer and fewer hands) and the failures of the mainstream media to provide the depth of information and the breadth of perspectives that are crucial to a healthy democratic culture.