WFUV News will be teaming up with BronxNet TV and Norwood News to cover the 2020 Election from a decidedly Bronx perspective. For five consecutive Tuesdays before the election, the collaborators will share Bronx Connections: Election 2020, a series of multimedia stories that will examine how national issues affect the borough. The first in the series launched on Sept. 29 and focused on climate change. On Tues., Oct. 6 at 9:30 p.m. a program focusing on crime will air BronxNet TV (Channel 67 on Optimum or 2133 on FiOS). Bronxites can also listen to a podcast on WFUV News or read the story at Norwood News.
This is not the first time the three organizations have collaborated. Over the past few years, the Bronx Connections collaboration has tackled a variety of issues, from gang and gun violence to food insecurity to the legalization of marijuana.
For the election, the issues are no less thorny than topics covered in past collaborations, said Eliot Schiaparelli, WFUV news manager and senior at Fordham College at Rose Hill (FCRH). Together with FCRH senior Nora Thomas, Schiaparelli will serve as reporter and anchor, tackling issues that will also include health care and immigration. They will wrap the series with an episode on racial and economic inequality. The duo will split four topics between them, but will work together on the final program.
“The hardest subject is racial and economic inequality; all the issues we focus on play into that,” said Schiaparelli.
For the Sept. 29 program on climate change, Schiaparelli reached out to local organizers from the student-led environmental group Bronx Sunrise, including FCRH senior Anita Gita, as well as Friends of the Mosholu Parkway Executive Director Elizabeth Quaranta.
“Bronx Sunrise is the local hub for the national [Sunrise Movement] group, so they were a good way to talk about national issues through a local lens,” said Schiaparelli.
For next week’s focus on crime, Thomas interviewed New York City Council Member Ritchie Torres and Melody Jiménez of the anti-violence group No Voice Unheard. Thomas said that inflammatory political rhetoric at the national level has made it difficult to pin down interviews.
“Everyone is sort of constrained in what they say, they want to be careful not to alienate their connections,” she said.
With such contentious issues on the table, the pair was careful to provide balance, but not at the expense of a Bronx point of view.
“Our boss [WFUV News and Public Affairs Director] George Bodarky says that being impartial is not covering a story 50/50,” said Schiaparelli. “You don’t have to give a quote for the right and the left, you cover what deserves more attention.”
As a journalism major, Schiaparelli said that she appreciated getting text edits back from Norwood News and she especially liked seeing the polished videos on Bronxnet.
“[Interim Norwood News editor] Síle Moloney is an amazing editor, it’s so helpful to get that print edit from someone who is working as a professional in print,” she said. “And even though we had to do all the interviews on Zoom, it still ends up looking beautiful after BronxNet edits it.”