You may or may not have heard about This American Life's two part series on Harper High School in Chicago. Regardless of how much you know (or think you know) about Chicago or gang culture, I urge you to listen to both riveting pieces. The reporters were given an extraordinary level of access to administrators, students, and parents, and the five months they spent immersed in the culture of the school paid off. It is a thoughtful exploration and rumination on violence, poverty, and how the two intersect. The aspect I was most grateful for, however, was how straightforward and honest the reporting was. It did not try to sensationalize or dramatize the subject matter, it instead let the facts paint a haunting portrait of a troubled area.
Find the first part here.