Urban Life


        Neighborhood News Service covers Milwaukee’s central city neighborhoods that no one else cares about.

Stories about agencies reaching out to at-risk teens, central city home tours, new habitat homes, and students who excel academically in schools not known for academic success.

Sharon McGowan, editor and project director of the news service, likes doing something she loves with a diverse staff covering urban areas that want to be heard with reporting’s on their community.

“There are a lot of reasons I chose to get involved in this,” said McGowan.

“When I met the people on the south and north sides, who were the original communities, I was very, very impressed with the people. They are so committed to improving their neighborhoods… they are just amazing people. So, I thought these were the kind of people I would like to work with,” said McGowan.

The news service has since expanded coverage to include the city’s west and northwest sides.

All of this comes thanks to grants, the first coming from The Zilber Family Foundation, and later from the Greater Milwaukee Foundation, and a recently announced two-year national grant from the Knight Foundation, a premier journalism organization of the country. This grant will match the Zilber and Greater Milwaukee Foundations grants.

The Marquette University’s Diederich College of Communication provides room and equipment, and guidance from people like Professor Herbert Lowe, a journalism teacher who suggests interns and assigns news service projects to his class.

McGowan is helped by four part-time paid staff along with two professional volunteers and four un-paid interns.

Each semester new interns are chosen, some receiving college credit and others just for experience.

Neighborhood News Service is an online publication because it’s less expensive than a print newspaper.

“Online is the way of the future, and print newspapers are the past,” said McGowan.

McGowan pointed out that research shows most people have access to the service through phones, and anyone wanting a print newspaper can go to a printer.

McGowan’s experience includes working for the Chicago Reporter.

“I’m a really good editor and I rely on others to do the radio and TV,” said McGowan.

McGowan commutes to Milwaukee from Chicago twice a week, balancing her other job in Skokie, Ill at Complete Communications Inc. helping businesses improve their communication skills.| UV


News service peeks into forgotten areas|Brooke Miller

“They are so committed to improving their neighborhoods...they are just amazing people.” ~ McGowan

Sharon McGowan - Neighborhood News Service

Photo by:  Tori Carter-Story