#27: Duty-Bound Journalism With Chris Serres

chris serres.jpg

“You cant do this work from a desk.” 

Chris Serres is a reporter for the Star Tribune covering social services and issues affecting society’s most vulnerable populations.

In the interview, we discuss his reporting on individuals with mental illness and the elderly. More specifically, we explore his eye-opening work that exposed statewide injustices happening to these two groups and their families.

His 2015 series of articles, titled “A Matter of Dignity,” explored Minnesota’s archaic and dehumanizing healthcare system for those with mental illness. In honor of their work, Chris and his colleagues were named finalists for the Pulitzer Prize in Local Reporting

More recently, Chris penned a five-part series that took a deep look at Minnesota’s elderly care industry called “Left to Suffer.” What he found was an alarming number of crimes committed against senior citizens and thousands of allegations receiving little to no attention from state authorities.

Our conversation focused primarily on these two projects, however we discuss several journalism-related topics.  Among those include Chris’ approach to immersing himself in the lives of his subjects, current shortfalls of media, giving people hope, and much more. 


Topics mentioned:

  • Ageism

  • Journalism building communities

  • MN Consumer Workgroup Report on Elder Abuse

  • Differences between nursing homes and assisted living facilities

  • Care giving being undervalued

  • “Freedom is an endless conversation.”

  • Let Us Now Praise Famous Men by James Agee and Walker Evans

  • Unconventional interview settings

  • Finding new ways to tell stories

  • Shaming people to do the right thing

  • The Twin Cities bubble


Chris' Favorites Related to the Twin Cities

Favorite Meal Under $15:

Favorite Public Space:

    Favorite Annual Event:

    How would you describe the Twin Cities?

    • "There are a lot of opportunities to meet people and expand your horizons, but you have to take advantage of it."

    State of the Union Message

    • “I'm a big believer that you can make life whatever you want. Recognize your own potential and ignore those that think you can’t achieve it.”