2019 Knight Award for Public Service finalist

Growing up through the Cracks

About the Project

Growing up through the Cracks stems from study of data on the geography of child poverty in the Pittsburgh region, which resulted in the realization that some of the highest concentrations were outside of the city, in smaller mill towns and even rural townships.

This can make the problem even more intractable, because the highly fragmented power structure of our region (the most per capita governments of any U.S. metro area with a population exceeding 1 million) often prevents resources from flowing to small municipalities. We set out to explore the data, to spend time in the areas in which half of kids are in poverty, to engage policymakers, and to report.

Our reporting has included words and photos, of course, but also interactive graphical depictions of the data, and drawn strips by award-winning children’s book illustrator Stacy Innerst. The mix of media has led to deep engagement by readers.