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Using journalism to give back

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Using journalism to give back

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For over 100 years, The Times has inspired its readers to donate to the Neediest Cases Fund, which helps those in need.

Think back to the last time you read a struggling person’s story and how you felt after that. Did you feel sadness? Sympathy? Maybe even outrage? Good journalism has the power to inspire strong emotions in readers. But it can also inspire generosity. And each year starting in the fall, The New York Times encourages its readers to donate for a good cause through a project called The Neediest Cases Fund, which has raised over $ 320 million for charities that help people in need.

It all dates back to Christmas Day 1911. Adolph S. Ochs, editor of the newspaper, was walking around when he met a man in ragged clothes. The man told Ochs he was able to dine at the YMCA, but had nowhere to sleep that night. The encounter gave Ochs an idea: what if The Times could use its pages to give back?

The following year, in December, the newspaper published 100 short stories of people struggling to support themselves and their families, and mentioned some agencies helping them – leading some readers to make comments. donations.

Now the Fund raises millions of dollars each year to support different organizations. During the 2020-21 campaign, for example, readers donated nearly $ 9.8 million to groups like the International Rescue Committee, which helps refugees and others in need, and Feeding America, which helps deliver food to people in need.

And just like in 1912, The Neediest Cases Fund draws on journalism to show readers why their donations matter. Throughout the holiday season, journalists interview people who have been helped by organizations supported by the Fund, sharing their experiences in the newspaper. “It could be the voice of someone who has been homeless, or someone you may have passed on the street,” said Aimee Harris, the campaign editor. Or it could be someone like Damian Dominguez, 11, who was able to get the new pair of glasses he needed through Children’s Aid, one of the Fund’s oldest fundraising recipients. .

Telling these stories is a natural fit for Times journalism, says Eileen Murphy, chair of the Fund’s board of directors. “It fits with our mission to help people understand the world,” she says. “Part of it is helping people understand that there are so many people in need. And to help them understand that there is a way for them to help too.

This article originally appeared in the New York Times for Kids. Find the section in the newspaper on Sunday, December 26 and the last Sunday of each month.

Donations to The Neediest Cases Fund can be made online or by check.

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