Out of the 50 biggest cities in the US, Louisville, Kentucky comes in last for overall health and fitness. I grew up in Louisville, and this ranking—which Louisville receives every year—always surprised me. I spent the last four months delving into this issue for Insider Louisville, an independent local news website, and released my coverage in a four part documentary.
In "A Picture of Bad Health," I examined the history of Louisville's problems with health, looked at what city government and community organizations are doing to address these issues, and discussed the underlying issues of inequity that have led to drastic problems with health in specific communities. You can see this third focus in A Picture of Bad Health: Part 3.
Working on this project taught me a lot about covering issues involving policy, government transparency, and inequity in small cities like Louisville. But it also taught me a lot about how change happens in these kind of cities. My final conclusion after completing the project: The ideal process of change is governments having open, transparent conversations with community organizations. But that won't happen.
Change comes from community organizations—and, more importantly, independent media—putting pressure on government to have these conversations. Change also comes from citizens supporting these entities that put pressure on the government.
My goal with the "A Picture of Bad" series was to give viewers an in-depth overview of Louisville's health problem and issues of inequity. My secondary goal was to equip them with the knowledge and context to help make a change. But finishing this project, I know the story isn't done, and I know that many of these lessons carry over throughout all of the country and the world.