On this 414 Day, we have an update about News414.
For those unfamiliar, News414 is an initiative from NNS and the Wisconsin Watch in which we share information and respond to your questions and perspectives in whatever way is easiest for you — whether through email, social media, phone calls, in person or texting.
Texting creates two-way conversations with Milwaukee residents on issues ranging from food security, housing, employment, civil rights and public health — allowing us to share information you’ve asked for. Those conversations also power our journalism, helping us understand what information and accountability Milwaukee residents want and need.
About 1,300 people subscribe to our English-language service. More than 100 subscribe to our Spanish-language service.
Here’s what’s new: We just upgraded our texting technology.
We’re now working with a company called Subtext, which has helped many newsrooms connect with residents through texting. On our end, the switch makes texting a little smoother and easier to monitor. On your end, not much should change — other than the number where you can reach us.
We can no longer respond to texts to our old number (73224). Previous subscribers will receive a text alerting them of the change.
You can sign up for the texting service or enter your cell number in the sign up box below. An automated text from a 414 number will welcome you to News414 and instruct you on how to finish signing up. Please save that number in your phone and text us there if you ever want to connect with a reporter.
Or you can sign up by texting the letters MKE to the number 414-409-5831. You will automatically get a welcome message from a 414 number. Save that number in your phone for future texting.
How you inspire our journalism
Three years into News414, we’ve learned so much from what you’ve shared through News414. You’ve helped us better understand community needs around food access, housing, public health, transportation and more. You’ve inspired dozens of stories, ranging from resource lists to investigations.
Those include an examination of a Milwaukee Area Technical College’s attempts to better serve Black and Latino students. Separately, we documented tenants’ long waits for rental assistance, and one story examined how the state was giving undocumented immigrant renters mixed signals about whether they qualified for aid.
News414 chats inspired our 2021 story about residents who struggled to navigate a confusing federal funeral assistance program after loved ones died of COVID-19. One resident received compensation for her father’s funeral shortly after we published details about her long wait.
Also in 2021, News414 connected a Milwaukee landlord with information about her tenant’s rental assistance application, helping to prevent an eviction
Last summer, we investigated Milwaukee’s lack of investment in cooling aid after several residents asked where to find affordable air conditioners. We learned that about 36,500 Milwaukeeans lack air conditioning and government agencies and nonprofits offer little help. But we also learned that Eras Senior Network, serving older adults of Milwaukee and Waukesha counties, is trying to fix that for older Milwaukeeans.
You alerted us early to a baby formula shortage that began in early 2022 and is still not completely over. That helped us learn that market consolidation and contracting practices left Wisconsin and other states vulnerable to a shortage.
The list goes on, and it will keep getting longer the more we hear from you. So please keep asking questions and letting us know what our journalism — and our communities — should look like.
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