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The Entryway Draws Criticism, Dialogue

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Photo by Kara Mears/The Entryway
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Bold statements can draw major criticism. Such is the case with the optimistic view I shared at the end of my post about The Entryway, an online project in which two white women move into a household of immigrants in the MacArthur Park/Westlake area to, in part, "learn Spanish so that [they] can better report our native city."

As with any project of this type, it drew criticism in the comments section and some observations last Friday from Kevin Roderick on KCRW. "This style of immersion journalism is always open to criticism as inauthentic or patronizing," he said. "After all, there are plenty of experts already on L.A. immigrant culture - hundreds of thousands live it every day. They could just be interviewed, or hired to report it themselves." Roderick, however, noted that projects like this "can yield wonderfully detailed and authentic insights."

Add to that this from Tuesday. "This is not what we need. Not what we need to celebrate, not what we need to encourage," wrote Daniel Hernandez in an opinion post on his website. "Progress is needed in media values in the same way we've seen progress in media platforms. So if independent media workers (or wealthy foundations, or documentary filmmakers) truly care about giving voice to marginalized voices, they should empower immigrants and poor people to tell their own stories. All it takes is a cheap or donated camera, an Internet connection, and a bit of encouragement. Look at Project Luz, or the Border Film Project, for starters."