Meredith Melland is the community engagement and neighborhoods reporter for Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service. Before returning to her home state and joining the newsroom, she covered COVID-19 and other topics, edited stories and managed the website and social media of the Daily Journal in Kankakee, Illinois as the newspaper’s digital content editor. During her college years interning in Chicago, Melland fact-checked articles in Chicago magazine, wrote digital stories at WGN and did a bit of everything as an editorial intern at StreetWise. Melland holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from DePaul University, where she developed a keen interest in local community journalism. While on staff as a web developer and editor at 14 East, DePaul’s online student magazine, she reported multimedia stories and earned an SPJ Region 5 Mark of Excellence Award with reporter Marin Scott for in-depth reporting on a professor of color’s termination and attempt to gain tenure at DePaul. Melland got her first taste of reporting and newsroom bonding at her high school’s publication, The Norse Star.
Beat: Grassroot community coverage
This reporter partners with residents to identify their needs, creates resource-laden stories to meet those needs, writes stories that offer solutions to their challenges and makes elected leaders accountable through rigorous watchdog reporting. This reporter covers grassroots neighborhood-focused groups and the nonprofits that serve our communities because they act as centers of civic action and no other media outlet has a reporter dedicated to their on-the-ground efforts. We put readers in the driver’s seat in helping us create coverage they feel is important. To do this, we take advantage of News414, where we use text messaging to find out the information readers want in order to give them what they need—in real time. This reporter also monitors data from social service providers to identify community needs that should be addressed by creating resource lists that help residents navigate their challenges.