Stop the Mold aims to track the scourge of mold in New York City public housing developments and document the impact on the lives of its residents.
The CUNY Graduate School of Journalism’s NYCity News Service is teaming with the New York Daily News to use in-person and on-line engagement with city public housing tenants to chronicle this mold infestation in the nation’s largest public housing system.
As The News reported in December 2013, the city has agreed to a consent decree that will give a federal judge oversight in ensuring that mold is removed from New York City Housing Authority apartments over the next three years. Many tenants have waited in vain, sometimes for years, for NYCHA to answer requests to clean up toxic mold.
Stop the Mold is funded in part by a $35,000 grant from the first Challenge Fund for Innovation in Journalism Education. The aim of the $1M Challenge Fund – a partnership of the Online News Association, the Excellence and Ethics in Journalism Foundation, the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Democracy Fund – is to explore new ways of providing information to local communities.
Another goal is to “hack” journalism school curriculum and promote the “teaching hospital” approach to journalism education by teaming schools with news organizations.
Stop the Mold is led by on the CUNY side by NYCity News Service Director Jere Hester and Interactive Journalism Program Director Sandeep Junnarkar, with Adjunct Prof. Amanda Hickman. Daily News Investigative Reporter Greg B. Smith and Digital Editorial Director Kristen Lee are among the paper’s staffers working on the effort.
Student reporters who worked on Stop the Mold include: Allegra Abramo, Natalie Abruzzo, Julia Alsop, Frank Green, Gwynne Hogan, Ross Keith, Roxanne L. Scott, Melisa Stumpf and Maria Villasenor.
Stop the Mold is a continuation of Menaced by Mold, an EPPY Award-winning project produced in Spring 2014 by a class led by Adjunct Prof. Dody Tsiantar and Junnarkar. Student contributors include: Anugya Chitransh, Rosa Goldensohn, Pamela Granda, Camilo Gomez, Gabriella Iannetta, Jennifer Lehman, Rachael Levy, Kyle Ligman, Sandra Lopez-Monsalve, Sarah Mortimer, Jacob Passy, Rikki Reyna, Ashley Rodriguez, Emilie Ross and Oresti Tsonopoulos.