Writing Wrongs is an advocacy journalism program that illuminates the inequity in our society through the power of the pen and the lens. By telling the stories of those directly involved, Writing Wrongs offers a different and often-ignored perspective that challenges stereotypes and prejudices.
For the past five years, students from different colleges and universities in Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey, and New York gave up family and leisure time on Labor Day weekend and voluntarily immersed themselves in a relevant social issue. Donating their time and skills, they performed interviews, took pictures and videos, managed and updated our social media, and ultimately designed a print file that is now a published book. They hoped to shine light on the issue, bring the invisible and forgotten to the forefront, and share real stories of people who are affected daily by these issues.
The topic of the 2021 On Location program is racism.
The 2020 program was cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic.
In 2019, the students visited the LGBT Center of Greater Reading and interviewed folks from the LGBTQ+ community.
Outgrowing: Stories From the LGBTQ+ Community
The topic in 2018 was domestic violence and sexual assault.
Strength in Vulnerability: Reclaimed Voices of Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault
In 2017, the topic was immigration and the students interviewed, photographed, and recorded on video the stories of more than a dozen people.
Untold, Unseen, Unheard: Perspectives on Immigration
In 2016, they talked with the residents of Easy Does It, Inc. drug and alcohol treatment facility.
Addiction: Stories of Hope
In 2015, they visited the residents of the Opportunity House and explored the issue of homelessness. The newspaper they created can be viewed here.
Writing Wrongs offers two program formats:
Writing Wrongs: Nationwide and Writing Wrongs: On Location.
Writing Wrongs: On Location
Writing Wrongs: On Location is the traditional Writing Wrongs program that began in 2015. The purpose is to give college students practical experience exploring significant social justice issues through interviewing those involved and sharing their stories to amplify their voices and thus raise awareness.
Students assemble in a specific location for a weekend to conduct interviews, hear speakers, and collaborate to create a book that reveals that experience through words and pictures. Prior to arrival on location students participate in a variety of preparatory readings, videos, and online discussions with other participants.
Writing Wrongs arranges for interviewees and speakers for the weekend. During the weekend, there will be sessions with all participants and small group sessions for writers, photographers, designers, and social media staff. Working together, eating together, and making publication decisions together — all provide an enriching collaborative experience. A sense of camaraderie and common purpose pervades the weekend.
Writing Wrongs: Nationwide (REMOTE)
Writing Wrongs: Nationwide is an innovative answer to the limitations imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic and has become an integral part of the Writing Wrongs opportunities. Without limitations on travel, Writing Wrongs expands both the participation of college students and the impact on raising awareness of social issues.
Writing Wrongs: Nationwide offers college students from across the country the opportunity to share their perspectives and the view from their community through a virtual collaboration. One of the primary benefits of the virtual program will be the added experience of students creating their own assignments — setting up interviews and photo shoots relevant to the topic. This opportunity not only provides vital experience but also gives their collaborative work a much broader perspective of the social issue. The virtual modality includes access to initial preparation and education on the focus topic.
Also, the additional virtual preliminary sessions over a period of weeks fosters camaraderie. Writing Wrongs: Nationwide culminates in virtual workshop sessions on the final weekend when the exciting work of completing the publication occurs — that is, “putting the book to bed.”
This file offers a comparison of the two programs.