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April 6, 2016

‘Faces of Flint’ looks at daily lives of those affected by water crisis

How has the Flint water crisis affected the lives of everyday people in the city, those who deal with it day after day?

Michigan State University’s WKAR radio and TV will soon present a series of documentary video shorts and radio features that will cover how people – black, white, Hispanic, rich, middle class and poor – in the city have coped with lead poisoning their water supply.

Titled “Faces of Flint,” the stories were produced and reported by MSU College of Communication Arts and Sciences students and two recent graduates. The team was headed up by radio producer April Van Buren, television producer Nicole Zaremba, and School of Journalism associate professor Geri Alumit Zeldes.

“What we’re providing is a snapshot of how people in Flint are feeling as they hit year two of the water crisis,” Zaremba said. “There is so much coverage of Flint from the city and state levels, but little in terms of the peoples’ perspectives.”

The team spent several weeks in Flint, interviewing a wide range of people, including staff and students at a local Catholic school, a local physician, business owners and performers, including a hip-hop artist who wrote a song about the water crisis.

“Each story features an individual experiencing a spectrum of emotions,” said Zeldes, a Flint native. “It’s like the grieving process – some are in the stage of anger, others are depressed, while some have accepted the situation and are poised to move forward.”

The series will debut on the WKAR network beginning April 11.

The radio features will air during “Current State” between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m., and again between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m.

The television features will air daily immediately following the PBS Newshour.

Funding for the work of the student journalists was provided by the College of Communication Arts and Sciences School of Journalism, the Knight Center for Environmental Journalism, the MSU Office of Outreach and Engagement, and the MSU Alumni Association.


By: Tom Oswald