By topofthehillman on Oct 26, 2010 in Current Events
Just got the news … Hillside Laundry is burning.
Apparently the flames were suppressed as of 5 p.m. and everyone is safe.
Duluth News Tribune: “Residents evacuated from Hillside Laundry building in Duluth“
More info from the DNT: Central Hillside fire displaces 5
That’s the Union Block, isn’t it? Same building that houses Da Houze o’ Flavor?
Correct, Tony D.
Yes Tony D., Da House is da boarded up now. Was glad to hear the residents of the building were safe. Always imagine the worst thing would be to watch your home on fire.
Actually, Da House is not boarded up; it is in the adjacent building and appears unburnt. Meanwhile, the DNT article about the residents who were displaced quotes one of them saying he is eager to move out of the Hillside because he does not feel safe here. For instance, he fears that if he is, say, locked out of his apartment sometime and is outside on the street he would “get plugged.”
Now, I know we’ve all had the debate about the safety of the Hillside, and I hesitate to start in about how I live in it, walk in it, (even in the dark!) and would raise children in it, but I was really compelled to post because I am wondering how responsible it is of the DNT to fuel the fear of this neighborhood in such a flippant manner.
The article was about the fire and the loss of homes, not about the perceived safety of the neighborhood. I am disappointed. I can just see all the people in the outer-rings of Duluth opening their papers (or their browsers) and having their fears validated.
I lived in the Cascade building, which is near the laundry, and never had any problems. It’s a great area. I’m actually moving back to First Avenue West and Superior Street. Mind your own business and you won’t have problems.
There is nothing flippant about it.
The DNT interviewed someone who was affected by the fire, and this is what he said. That’s how journalism works.
If they interviewed the man, and when he responded the way he did, they said, “Well, we’re not going to publish that because it doesn’t line up with the image we’d like to portray of that neighborhood,” that would be shamefully irresponsible journalism, if you could even call it that.
It is a shame that that neighborhood has an unfair image. But the DNT should not be altering its content in an attempt to change (or encourage) that image.
I think the real story is that building hadn’t been inspected by the Fire Marshal’s office since 2004. City of Duluth, get it together.
Look, a man was shot basically on their front doorstop, and the perp isn’t even sentenced yet for the crime. If that didn’t make you think, oh I don’t know, perhaps negatively about your personal safety, I don’t know what would.
The Hillside might be a relatively safe place, but I wouldn’t fault anyone living in that immediate neighborhood for feeling a little worried about gun violence.
Perhaps the journalist used a leading question to guide the conversation towards the safety of the Hillside. Hypothetically, is that alright?
Spend the money and/or seek grants to train more Fire dept. personnel. More inspection hours and you could farm them out to surrounding communities whilst improving the knowledge-base of your citizenry.
Barrett’s right — seems like the guy’s comment was totally appropriate to the story. I don’t fault the reporter for including it — even if it does perpetuate stereotypes.
There is another way that jouranlism works, as well:
There is a position in journalism called “editor”. His/her job is to “edit” a story to ensure it stays on point.
I’m not sure the inclusion of the “fear of living in Hillside” part of the interviewed person’s response -- or the article -- was warranted, given the subject of the story; the fire, and the lack of inspections.
There may be a relation between the location of the building and the lack of inspection. But, certainly there was no connection between the fire and the subject’s fear of getting shot.
From today’s DNT article: “Two years ago, a man was fatally shot in the doorway of the Hillside Laundry, and they don’t feel safe in the area.”
Two years ago a mother and son were tied up in their home on the East side of Duluth. Does that make Congdon unsafe?
Last year, a guy in Lakeside broke into his neighbor’s house and threatened her? Is Lakeside unsafe?
I re-read the story, it’s totally in context of explaining what the couple is going to do now that they’ve been left homeless by this fire. Their statement was followed by a fact referring to an act of violence that happened on their doorstep. The other resident interviewed said he felt perfectly safe in the neighborhood. I’m sure if there was something that happened in the same Congdon neighborhood the mother and son were tied up, or in the same Lakeside neighborhood where the woman was threatened in her home, and a resident told the media they felt unsafe staying there, the reporter would try to set the remark in its proper context by referring to previous incidents that would occasion the remark.
How’s about a supplemental volunteer fire department that could be trained to conduct inspections since the regular FD is too busy? I know. Crazy, right?
Thank you, Claire.
I’m not suggesting that the DNT alter its content. If I were suggesting that, I would have been upset that the paper did not report the tenant as saying that he felt so safe here he would have slept overnight on the sidewalk.
I’m suggesting that as a voice of the Duluth community, the DNT has a duty to be mindful (for lack of a better word) of what it prints and in what context. I’m suggesting that the neighborhood holds its image in part *because* of DNT reporting. The reputation is more than a shame, it’s a product of irresponsible journalism.
There is a difference between printing the police blotter (unbiased fact) and quoting a resident about his perceived safety from crime in a story about a fire.
I am suggesting (gasp!) that the DNT chose what to print so as to sell more papers. I’m not a journalist, nor have I ever been, and I understand that the journalistic credo dictates an open, honest and unbiased dissemination of knowledge for the public good, but really, don’t you think there’s a bit more at work here? More than gathering the interviewee’s reply for printing? Wouldn’t you agree that journalistic opinion seeps into every news medium?
I don’t think it’s unrealistic to assume that DNT publishers were glad to tack this quote onto the end of the story so as to put a bit more zing into the story. Don’t you think the reporter and editor had this in mind when interviewing the tenant then running the story? Sure, it’s totally logical to ask a displaced tenant where he is going to move, but the DNT did not fulfill its journalistic purpose by running the quote about “getting plugged.”
Vicarious is right: there may be a correlation between the neighborhood and the lack of fire inspections, but there certainly is no link between the fire, where one will live next, past crime, and one’s fears of getting shot.
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