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WYES Helps Rebuild New Orleans' Criminal Justice System


In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans faced the daunting task of not only rebuilding, but faced the pressing issues of crime and the storm’s impact on the criminal justice system. 

“Several civic groups in New Orleans came together to inform the community about proposed changes to the city’s criminal justice system with the belief that the more the people knew, the more they’d push for change,” said WYES President and General Manager Randall Feldman. “WYES stepped in to help spread that message, and to buttress the call for greater government accountability by placing candidate quotes on the web and broadcasting an in-depth look into how the criminal justice system works now, and how it could work in the future.”

The project, titled “Reshaping New Orleans: Criminal Justice,” created a virtual candidate forum similar to a town hall meeting where citizens could interact with candidates directly. Using the WYES website, the project partners composed a series of questions from New Orleans’ citizens and posed them directly to candidates for district attorney and other judicial officers. The candidates’ responses were videotaped and loaded onto to the website, where voters could go at their convenience to see and hear the unfiltered responses.

The results of the virtual candidate forum were shared with the larger New Orleans population through the broadcast of an hour-long program providing in-depth analysis and discussion. 


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