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WYPR Radio Series Explores Race and Inequality

Inequalities in housing, employment and education in the Baltimore metro area are the subject of a new radio series on WYPR FM 88.1. “Lines Between Us” kicked off Sept. 28 on the National Public Radio affiliate and will continue weekly for a year.
The series has a companion website that is the public's portal to the “landscape of inequality” in Baltimore neighborhoods, says Lawrence Lanahan, senior producer of “Maryland Morning with Sheilah Kast." Segments of the series air every Friday between 9 to 10 a.m. on this program. 
“We want listeners to tell us their stories, either written, video or audio," to be featured on the website, Lanahan says. He notes that each segment will delve into a topic like how many people in a neighborhood don't have jobs and how long they've been unemployed, how many graduated from high school and how many own their homes or rent. 
Lanahan says the series is a first for “Maryland Morning” but not for WYPR, which ran a “Growing Up Baltimore” series and accompanying website through the news department. From the program’s perspective, he is hoping to reach elected officials, government officials and community members.
The University of Baltimore’s Jacob France Institute, the research arm of the Merrick School of Business, is providing the data and maps on which the series and website are based.
Seema Iyer, associate director and research assistant professor at the institute, says it has been collecting data and issuing annual reports on race and inequalities in Baltimore City, Baltimore County and Anne Arundel County for about a decade. This year Provost Joseph Wood initiated a series of activities for the university community that focused on the reports.
After WYPR approached the university, “it made sense to partner with them,” Iyer says. “Data is only as good as the number of people who use and understand it. We see it as a way to get our data to their audience, which is much larger than ours.”
Moreover, Iyer says the radio series gives the data a new, personal dimension. “The stories you can tell in an arena like WYPR give a different perspective to the data,” she says. “For us, it’s a great opportunity.”
Sources: Seema Iyer, University of Baltimore; Lawrence Lanahan, National Public Radio WYPR.FM
Writer: Barbara Pash

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