‘Too Young To Die’ in Montgomery, Alabama
How community violence is shaping a generation of students
(EWA Radio: Episode 243)
In Alabama’s capital city, an epidemic of violence has shadowed the class of 2020 throughout their high school careers. Nearly a dozen of their classmates were killed before making it to graduation day. Reporter Krista Johnson of the Montgomery Advertiser set out to learn more about those who died, and to understand how trauma is shaping a generation of young people and their school communities. How did she build trust among the families and friends of victims to better tell their stories? What did she learn about covering trauma, including letting go of preconceived ideas about how young people process grief? Where are schools stepping in to fill gaps in support services for survivors? And what advice does she have for other reporters covering the intersection of community violence and students’ academic lives?