At the end of every year at The UpTake we’ve traditionally highlighted the most interesting videos of the year. But this year, several big stories transcended any one video. So instead, we’re looking back at those stories we covered that have had the most impact.
We brought you live coverage of the citizen uprising in Wisconsin against Governor Scott Walker’s attempt to severely restrict workers’ rights. When citizens stormed and occupied the capitol building in Wisconsin, the legacy media ended up depending upon The UpTake’s coverage to show what was going on.
When Minnesota’s legislature put an anti-gay marriage constitutional amendment on the ballot, The UpTake was there to capture the eloquent argument that Representative Steve Simon made against it saying, “how many gay people does God have to create before we ask ourselves whether or not God actually wants them around?“ It was a speech ignored by the local and national media until our video of it went viral. After that, Representative Simon found himself on national news shows expounding on his point of view.
We reported on the genesis of “Occupy Wall Street” weeks before it exploded on the national scene, as we live streamed a gathering of national economic activists’ “Summit for a fair economy.” Our video of former US Labor Secretary Robert Reich’s speech at the event debunking the 6 big right wing “lies” about the economy also went viral, racking up thousands of views.
When a tornado destroyed a neighborhood in north Minneapolis leaving thousands homeless, it exposed a long-standing problem of poverty in one of the most economically depressed places in the state. Long after the story faded from the TV and newspapers, The UpTake chronicled how residents were fighting, sometimes successfully and sometimes not, to overcome both a financial and natural disaster.
And just this week, when it was discovered that an anti-immigrant provision targeting the sick had been slipped into Minnesota’s budget, The UpTake was the only one to give it significant coverage—explaining that, at worst, undocumented immigrants on chemotherapy and dialysis could die because of the change. At best, hospitals may end up paying millions of dollars more in uncompensated care, leading to higher health care costs for all of us.
Those were the big ones, but The UpTake also watchdogged thousands of hours of the Minnesota legislature, providing more live coverage than any media outlet in the state — including public TV. We’ve tracked how the FBI has been trying to prosecute peace activists as “terrorists”, the environmental threat of new mining on Minnesota’s iron range, and the attempts to remove Minnesota’s nuclear energy moratorium. In all, we’ve published more than a thousand video stories this year with a mostly volunteer staff.
We covered the stories you asked us to and the stories our volunteers were passionate about. We think that’s what responsible journalism is about.
And it’s a rhetorical question now, but If we didn’t cover these stories, who would have?