“The Talk”


Austin American-Statesman  
February 19, 2017

If you are not African American, you might not be aware of The Talk. But chances are that if you’re black, you’re familiar with parental warnings about interactions with police, such as, “Don’t make sudden movements. Keep your hands in plain sight. Be respectful. Comply.”

In the wake of several violent encounters between police and suspects in which race played a role, the Austin American-Statesman sought to explore the fundamental divisions in our community concerning race and policing. The Talk proved the perfect vehicle to make this national conversation more personal.

Videographer Reshma Kirpalani interviewed dozens of African American residents and police officers. She went on police ride-alongs. She heard The Talk.

Meanwhile, reporter James Barragan interviewed community leaders and researched the history of Austin’s race relations to write an insightful explanatory piece. Editorial writer Alberta Phillips added commentary.

Their multimedia reporting came together in our online package simply called “The Talk,” beautifully designed by interactive projects editors Dan Keemahill and Christian McDonald.

You will see that the package leans heavily on visual reporting, from Kirpalani’s long-form video to the use of side-by-side audio snippets to show two sides of the story. Most of all, the package is personal.

Our work truly came to life two weeks after it published, when we partnered with a public TV station to host a public forum on race-police relations. It was live-streamed via Facebook and our website and then aired over broadcast channels later. Community leaders and everyday citizens and police shared some frank talk and a few tears. And it started with The Talk.

LINK to content online

Submitted by John Bridges.

Headliners Foundation