The battle against violent crime on San Antonio's east side is not new. But KENS 5's approach to telling that story has changed.
"There are lots and lots of good people just trying to live their lives on the east side," said KENS 5 photojournalist and editor Mike Humphries. "The CORE gives us a chance to go more in-depth and really explore the issue."
The CORE (Collaborative Online Reporting Effort) started as just an idea. We can tell longer stories online than we can on television. So which San Antonio stories are going untold because they won't fit into a standard newscast?
We quickly focused on what's happening on San Antonio's east side. That's where KENS 5 journalist Sue Calberg lives.
"I am a daily eyewitness to the east side's deadly problems and our hopes for the future," she said. "There are so many open-hearted, brave, generous people who are out on the streets every day doing things that are building a better community."
KENS 5 journalist Marvin Hurst reports from the east side often as part of his work for "Eyewitness News This Morning."
"The great discovery was that these are San Antonians. They are our neighbors who don't want to be judged by the bad apples creating chaos," he said. "They acknowledge crime on their block. However, these are people who aren't certain we see their hope."
We would need more time and resources to truly tell those stories. The CORE was our platform to make that happen.
"Normally, we have strict constraints on time and talent," KENS 5 news anchor Jeff Brady said. "With The Core project, we have effectively removed those barriers... I'm very encouraged by the results."
The digital space is home to all manner of storytelling formats, and where there's community interest, there's an audience, said Greg Matthews, KENS 5's director of digital media.
"We are freeing our journalists to begin a community conversation by going deeper into the issues and the lives of the people who are affected," Matthews said. "We believe the stories they are telling will lead to better understanding and proactive solutions."
The overall issues on the east side can get lost in the daily reporting of individual crimes, but The CORE report brings it all together in one place.
"It takes time to do a deep-dive into interesting stories," said Valerie Guyton, KENS 5's assistant news director. "The CORE peels back layers of a problem plaguing a community and, most importantly to me, offers some solutions and highlights people trying to make a difference."
KENS 5 investigative reporter Dillon Collier said the extra time and space to tell the story was key to the final report.
"I got to spend more time with victims and people affected by east-side violence," he said. "Our final story, I believe, does not leave anything out."