I spent my last semester at Northern Arizona University working on my capstone project with a good friend and colleague, Kari Scott. Our project focused on “houselessness” in Flagstaff, Arizona.
Forgotten Flagstaff is a result of months of reporting, chasing after houseless individuals, pestering law enforcement and facing ethical and moral dilemmas. As a person, I am sympathetic and impassioned to show care, to aide and assist the individuals with whom we spoke. But as a journalist, I cannot help. As a journalist, I am there to report, to shoot and to analyze what I see and who they are.
Naturally, however, we develop relationships with the individuals we interview and follow. So when we found Anthony Ortiz, our main subject for Forgotten Flagstaff, inebriated and passed out on a bench, vomiting on his chest and vulnerable to the biting winter wind, Scott and I grew worried, and our role as journalists temporarily ceased. Our humanity took over, and we watched silently as an ambulance drove Ortiz to the hospital.
Forgotten Flagstaff touches on “houseless” and “homeless” and why the distinction is important, perceptions of the “houseless” and services in Flagstaff that seek to aide these individuals.
To read our project, click here: Forgotten Flagstaff