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What’s Good In the Hood: Teens Start Good News Paper, Thwarting City’s Image as “Godforsaken”

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Teen editors Whats Good in the HoodSince Boston Magazine published an article one month ago naming Lawrence, Massachusetts the “City of the Dammed” and calling it “godforsaken”, outraged residents have been working to prove that there are more positive things in the city than the label “Nation’s Stolen Car Capital” would suggest.

On March 1st, community leaders, parents and teachers, met at Cafe Verde to discuss a strategy for turning around the public relations nightmare. They planned a rally, marching two weeks later under the banner “We are Lawrence”.

The “We are Lawrence” movement is building on what local high school students had already begun. Trying to reverse the town’s negative stereotype, the group of teens began printing a newsletter called “What’s Good In the Hood?”, hand-delivering the positive news stories around town.

Instead of a drumbeat of stories about drug arrests, robberies and murders, Good In the Hood aims to give the city of Lawrence an image makeover. The passionate multicultural teens are empowering their city using funding to print their publication by selling ads to local businesses and organizations.

Despite a tarnished reputation, the city of Lawrence, 25 miles outside of Boston, recently released its 2011 Economic Development Report, which reads as a counterpoint to the haranguing Boston Magazine piece — highlighting many success stories of local businesses. Meanwhile, with five editions distributed, the teenage editors have tried to generate city pride by highlighting volunteer and clean-up efforts and inspiring work done by local artists and students.

Last summer, Good In the Hood won the Storytellers For Good documentary contest which resulted in the filming of their own documentary in December. Watch the inspiring video below…

Contact the editors at [email protected]

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