Baltimore Urban Affairs Reporting Projects

Each semester, students in the college's Urban Affairs Reporting class (JOUR327) use Baltimore as a laboratory to cover issues of importance to cities.  The class is taught by Sandy Banisky, Merrill's Abell Professor in Baltimore Journalism, a former deputy managing editor of The Baltimore Sun. 

The class is organized like a newsroom project team.  Students develop story ideas and meet with residents, elected officials, business people and community leaders to produce a comprehensive, multi-platform report on a different topic each semester. Increasingly, the projects are done collaboratively with other classes in the college.

The stories, photos, videos and graphics that the students produce are distributed on the CNS (Capital News Service) wire and have been published by news organizations around the state.

The program is supported in part by a grant from the Abell Foundation. The Baltimore Sun provides classroom space and research materials. 



Projects by Semester (projects from 2013 on were done jointly with other CNS bureaus):

Fall/Spring 2014 - Baltimore's Forgotten Champions: The Baltimore Stallions were born from nothing, captured the hearts of a football-starved city, became the only American team to win the Canadian Football League’s Grey Cup and one of the most successful expansion franchises in sports history. They left town as an afterthought.

Summer 2014 -  Cove Point Liquefied Natural Gas Controversy: Dominion’s proposal to begin exporting liquefied natural gas (LNG) from its import facility in Calvert County, Md. has put the company and the tiny town at the forefront of a national debate about natural gas, a booming commodity that some say could alter the global energy landscape.

Fall 2013 - Stuck in Transit: Baltimore's Public Transportation Woes: For decades, the jobs that many Baltimoreans rely on have been moving to the suburbs. But most of the region's transit routes haven't been changed since before the Maryland Transit Administration took over local bus service in 1971. This project looks at the state of transportation in Baltimore today and possible solutions for the future including smart phones and streetcars.

Summer 2013 - Sea Level Rise in MarylandSea levels are rising worldwide, but they’re rising two to three times faster in the Chesapeake Bay. A new semester-long investigative project coordinated by the Philip Merrill College of Journalism’s Capital News Service (CNS) shows that sea level rise is putting major coastal areas of the state of Maryland at risk – including some of the state’s most iconic places — Fells Point in Baltimore, Harriet Tubman’s birthplace, and Fort McHenry, home of the national anthem. Students from the Baltimore Urban Affairs class were part of this in-depth investigation that saw wide coverage throughout the state and region.

Fall 2012 - Locust Point: A Changing Waterfront.

Spring 2012 - Maryland Families: Falling Behind. 

Fall 2011 - Can Art Change Baltimore?

Spring 2011 - Juvenile Justice in Baltimore City.

Fall 2010 - Searching for Healthy Food.

Summer 2010 - More Than a Game: The Orioles and Baltimore.

Spring 2010 - East Baltimore: Ten Years Later.

Fall 2009 - Reclaiming a Neighborhood: The Revitalization of Baltimore's East Side.

Produced by University of Maryland students under the Abell Initiative in Baltimore Journalism.