The Wash

Background Assignment


The purpose of this assignment is for you to develop the background research necessary to produce forthcoming stories in your neighborhood. You will craft a written presentation, which not only demonstrates your factual knowledge of your geographic beat, but also your ability to give us the narrative vibe of your neighborhood. Think of it as a written overview you might see from a tourism organization. (Why would I want to live or work in your neighborhood? Though, it doesn’t need to be promotional.)


Spend time researching your neighborhood from a variety of local resources — including visiting your neighborhood in person. Pull together the necessary information to provide a background document, given the purpose above, into a 500-word, 12 pt, double-spaced narrative report. Do not simply recite facts. You should (obviously) avoid cutting and pasting information from your sources.

You should also have a section listing important neighborhood contacts (people). These might be ANC representatives, DC Council members, etc. Since this is a list, it is above and beyond the 500-word minimum.

Finally, take at least one photo that represents something about your neighborhood. Include that somewhere in your doc.

Check out the neighborhoods section of this DC neighborhood profiles site for a good example. (Note, however, this lacks the narrative element we’ll be expecting you to write. You also don’t need to design your document like this — though if you have a graphic design skill set, you’re welcome to.)

Grade Breakdown

(100 points total)

  • 70 points: Ability to showcase your factual knowledge of the beat while combining the element of narrative storytelling.
  • 25 points: Grammar, AP Style, sentence structure, appropriate length, overall writing.
  • 5 points: A photo, with short narrative or caption, which represents your neighborhood beat.


The following three examples, from Fall 2019, all met the assignment requirements and earned a high grade. Exceptional assignments will go above and beyond, showcasing the neighborhood through additional photos, captions and design.

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