Poetry on the margins: Ghetto life 101, remorse and the new radio documentary

Matthew C. Ehrlich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A recent wave of radio documentaries has been credited with sparking a new approach to American journalism. This article critically examines two seminal documentaries, Ghetto Life 101 and Remorse: The 14 Stories of Eric Morse. They were co-created by independent producer David Isay and two African American teenagers from inner-city Chicago, LeAlan Jones and Lloyd Newman. While their work won a raft of awards, it also was criticized for irresponsibly perpetuating racist stereotypes. This article suggests that such documentaries are limited in the degree to which they counter stereotypes and demand accountability and justice. However, as a form of autoethnography, they make room for other voices in promoting social solidarity and empathy while serving as a model for journalism as a whole.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)423-439
Number of pages17
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2003


  • David Isay
  • Journalism and class
  • Journalism and community
  • Journalism and ethnography
  • Journalism and race
  • LeAlan Jones
  • Lloyd Newman
  • Radio documentary
  • Radio news

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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