Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Video report: Philadelphia's rental suitability law

WHYY's Stephanie Marudas and Alan Tu put together an excellent report on Philadelphia's rental suitability law.

Basically, the law which was passed two years ago requires landlords to provide tenants with a certificate of rental suitability showing that the property had passed city inspection. But landlords fought the law in the courts and the city hasn't enforced it since April. It's not clear what the future of the law will be, as Stephanie Marudas explains in this video report.

This is the first major video report to come out of WHYY's new It's Our City project. I produced a video on Philadelphia Curfew Centers a month or so ago, but honestly all of the tape for that video came from a single meeting. Stephanie's report took weeks to put together and features interviews with all of the major players and several renters who have been affected by the lack of enforcement of the rental suitability law.

I think Alan and Stephanie did a great job putting this together, partly because it doesn't look like TV, doesn't sound like radio, and doesn't look much like a YouTube video either. It's nice to see mainstream media organizations like WHYY taking risks and branching out into new media. While there's a lot we can all learn as journalists from television, radio and news reporting of the past, it's important to embrace new forms of reporting as well.

I think this report would play well on television, but it works really well on the computer screen thanks to the informal storytelling style. Anyway, I had nothing to do with the production of this report, but I just thought they did an excellent job so I wanted to share.

Oh yeah, and the issue is important too.

In related news, Alan has been a twittering fool lately. City, State, and casino officials held a press conference today to discuss the possibility of a slots parlor opening in Center City Philadelphia and Alan tweeted his way through the press conference.

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