We Are Headed To Del Valle For Our Next Reporting Project

By Marissa Greene | Tuesday, March 9th 2021

For the past few months Decibel has been reporting on the Asian American community in Austin. Now, we are moving on to a new project covering Del Valle. Let’s take a deeper look into how and why we chose Del Valle as our next focus for our second reporting project.

Since deciding on our new mission of community-led journalism last year, we've carefully collected demographic information about our sources by sending out a survey to every person featured in one of our stories. We ask for the participant’s age, race, ethnicity, zip code and other helpful details. We started doing this to ensure our coverage was truly intersectional. While approaching our next reporting project, we looked at the data we had been collecting to see what trends emerged from our coverage.

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A slide from our meetin with the CAB that shows some of the demographic breakdown of our previous reporting.

The data from our first reporting project brought two things to our attention. First, a lot of Decibel’s stories focus on those living in Central and North Austin. Second, more than half of our sources had a household income of $100,000 or more. With this in mind, we wanted to make sure our next stop would include communities we were missing in previous coverage. Our team also wanted to ensure we chose a place with some diversity in terms of race and ethnicity since we primarily had been focused on Asian American stories.

We began comparing zip code areas we hadn’t covered that much in our first reporting project, analyzing specifics such as location, age and household incomes. In addition to this, Decibel also selected communities that were closer to our station and were a bit more urban than rural because we are still working remotely and know outreach in a virtual space has its challenges. This helped us narrow down our list to three local cities: Del Valle,Bastrop and San Marcos. We gathered data to get an outside scope of all three areas and then created information briefs about each one.

Involving the community for input before finalizing our decision was key. Our team did this by sharing our three city briefs with Austin PBS’s Community Advisory Board, or CAB. The CAB is a group of community members in Central Texas who give the station input on our work.

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A slide from our meeting with the CAB that shows the population and size breakdown of all three cities.

In our discussion we talked about demographics gathered from the U.S. Census Bureau for each of the three communities. Del Valle has the smallest population and land size when compared to Bastrop and San Marcos. Yet, Del Valle has higher percentages of children between the ages of 0 to19 years old. They also have the highest percentage of Latinos among all three cities. The CAB determined that these factors made Del Valle a strong contender for our next project. Another reason the CAB determined Del Valle would be a good location for our next reporting project was because the U.S Department of Agriculture considers Del Valle to be a food desert. One board member shared that when they lived in Del Valle, the nearest grocery store in the area was Dollar General.

Members of the CAB also stressed how little news coverage they see concerning the Del Valle area.. The consensus was that this is a Central Texas community at the center of many important issues that are underreported. These discussions led the CAB toward a unanimous vote: Decibel’s next project will cover Del Valle.

In the next coming weeks we plan to visit and listen to the Del Valle community by hosting virtual events with residents and leaders. If you live in Del Valle and would like to participate in one of our upcoming events please RSVP at austinpbs.org/events.

Community journalism doesn’t happen without community support.

Got story ideas, advice on how we can improve our reporting or just want to know more about what we do? Reach out to us at news@klru.org.

And if you value this type of reporting, then please consider making a donation to Austin PBS. Your gift makes the quality journalism done by the Decibel team possible. Thank you for your contribution.

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