We know DC’s leafier neighborhoods like Spring Valley and Barnaby Woods are cooler during our hot summers, but the surprising results of Hola Cultura’s three-part series on the city’s “heat islands” show that those suffering from temperatures that can be 20-degrees hotter reside or work in streets around Columbia Heights, Fort Totten and Park View, rather than neighborhoods east of the Anacostia River.

“Our data changed the general assumptions,” says Hola Cultura’s executive director Christine MacDonald. “That’s the value of deep reporting.”

Published by Washington City Paper, the Latino nonprofit’s reporting was supported by an $8,000 grant from SpotlightDC as well as awards from two other journalism funds. 

The project helped SpotlightDC achieve its mission in many ways:

  • The report had immediate impact by focusing public policy on heat islands and climate change.
  • Hola Cultura used the grant to train emerging journalists in investigative reporting
  • Coming first, SpotlightDC’s award helped bring in other funders.
  • Hola Culutra’s collaboration with the University of Maryland’s Howard Center for Investigative Journalism deepens our reach into local colleges.

“We are encouraged and motivated by SpotlightDC’s funding,” says MacDonald. “The collaboration was a win all around. More to come.”