Category: News Briefs - Original Written by Real Times Media
Real Times Media (RTM), a multimedia company focused on urban marketing, media and entertainment is set to officially introduce the Real Times Media Digital Network with the launch of the first of its new Interactive One-supported websites in November. The initial sites to launch under the new Real Times Media digital platform will be the company’s www.AtlantaDailyWorld.com and www.NewPittsburghCourier.com properties.
The launch of the two sites is the first milestone of the partnership RTM developed with Interactive One Studios (iOne Studios), a division of Radio One, which assists external brands with developing highly profitable digital businesses through world-class sales, platform, content and distribution services.
“Partnering with Interactive One Studios presents a tremendous opportunity for the Real Times Media digital platform,” said Hiram E. Jackson, CEO, Real Times Media. “For the past few years our company has had a laser focus on Re-positioning our brands into Multi-media platforms With emphasis on digital content, special events and marketing services. We’ve been able to make significant headway on our own; however, this partnership with Interactive One will certainly help us to reach new levels of success.”
Under the terms of the full partnership, Real Times Media is migrating its Atlanta Daily World (www.AtlantaDailyWorld.com), Chicago Defender (www.ChicagoDefender.com), Michigan Chronicle (www.MichiganChronicle.com), and New Pittsburgh Courier (www.NewPittsburghCourier.com) websites to Interactive One's proprietary content and mobile platforms. The transition will benefit the Real Times Media brands through increased audience reach, world-class advertising, media management and operations, guaranteed uptimes and tech support, and a unique set of features and functions that have made the channels within the Interactive One network a leader in the space.
Last Updated on Thursday, 31 October 2013 12:14
Category: News Briefs Written by AJ Williams, Chronicle Web Editor
Gov. Rick Snyder testified Monday that lawsuits filed against him and the Detroit emergency manager by city debtholders led him to authorize the city to file for bankruptcy.
Gov. Rick Snyder today issued the following statement about offering testimony today in U.S. District Court about the Chapter 9 filing for Detroit:
"I offered my testimony today to help expedite these proceedings so we can continue with Detroit's comeback for the benefit of its residents and the entire state of Michigan.
"It's important to resolve this case as quickly as possible. Authorizing the Chapter 9 filing was an extremely difficult decision, but I believe a necessary one. Bankruptcy was the last and only viable option to bring the financial crisis to an end and get the city back on a successful path.
"Detroit's fiscal crisis was six decades in the making. My job is to make the tough decisions to resolve the problems we face today, not ignore them. Detroit is a great and proud city. I'm convinced the necessary actions we took will allow it to thrive and complete its turnaround for the next generation of Detroiters and Michiganders."
Detroit must show it is broke and tried in good faith to negotiate with creditors. Attorneys who oppose the filing seeking the largest municipal bankruptcy protection in U.S. history have tried to build a case that bankruptcy was a predetermined course or inevitable outcome.
The judge has set a Nov. 13 deadline for lawyers to file legal briefs on certain issues.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 29 October 2013 02:47
Category: News Briefs Written by CNN News
(CNN) -- Singer Chris Brown and a bodyguard were arrested Sunday morning and charged with felony assault, the Washington Metropolitan Police Department said.
The arrest could have serious legal consequence for Brown, 24, since he is serving probation for the felony domestic violence conviction relating to his 2009 attack on former girlfriend Rihanna.
Brown and bodyguard Christopher Hollosy allegedly attacked a man with their fists outside the W Hotel in downtown Washington at 4:25 a.m. Sunday, police said.
The police incident report obtained by CNN identified the alleged victim as Isaac Adams Parker, 20, of Beltsville, Maryland. Parker did not immediately respond to a CNN call for comment.
Parker told police that he tried to jump into a photo that Brown was posing for with a female fan on the sidewalk when the singer said, "I'm not down with that gay s--t" and "I feel like boxing," the police report said. Parker said that Brown then punched him in the face with his closed fist, the report said.
Chris Brown arrested in D.C.
Parker said Brown's bodyguard -- who stands 6-foot-5 and weighs 240 pounds -- stepped between them and punched Parker in the face, the report said. The bodyguard then grabbed Brown by his arm and pulled him toward his tour bus, which was parked near by, it said.
Brown and the bodyguard were taken into custody and were being held at the Second District police station, police said. Both men were later transferred to a central jail cell block for processing, police said,
Parker was treated and released at a hospital for treatment for a bruised and swollen face, police spokesman Anthony Clay told CNN.
Brown was in Washington to host a "homecoming party" at The Park at Fourteen nightclub Saturday night, according to his Twitter feed, just four blocks away from where he was arrested Sunday morning.
His representative and lawyer did not immediately respond to CNN calls for comment Sunday.
Brown is on probation in California for a felony domestic violence conviction involving Rihanna. Any arrest could be considered a violation of that probation, which could result in jail time.
Prosecutors filed probation violation charges against him twice in the past year, resulting in the judge ordering him to complete an additional 1,000 hours of community service.
In August: Brown ordered to 1,000 hours community labor
Brown was arrested in February 2009 for punching Rihanna inside a rented Lamborghini on a Hollywood street. The altercation left the face of Rihanna, also a chart-topping singer, bruised and bloody on the eve of the Grammy Awards.
He entered a guilty plea seven months later and was sentenced to serve five years probation and ordered to spend more than 1,400 hours in "labor-oriented service."
His probation reports were glowing until the past year, when the district attorney's office accused him of not completing the 1,400 hours of community labor, which he was allowed to do in his home state of Virginia.
Brown calls out Jay-Z in new interview
He was also accused of hit-and-run after a minor traffic crash earlier this year. The driver of the other car told investigators that Brown "went ballistic" and screamed at her after his Range Rover rear-ended her Mercedes on a Los Angeles street.
In August, Brown's lawyer reached a settlement with prosecutors to end their efforts to revoke his probation. The deal called for Brown to complete another 1,000 hours of community service.
Probation rules require Brown to stay out of all legal trouble. Even an arrest that does not lead to a conviction could result in a probation violation charge.
He is scheduled to appear before Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge James Brandlin on November 20 for a probation status hearing.
Last Updated on Monday, 28 October 2013 09:34
Category: News Briefs - Original Written by Chuck Stokes/special to the Chronicle
Retired South African President Nelson Mandela once said, "A good leader can engage in a debate frankly and thoroughly, knowing that at the end he and the other side must be closer, and thus emerge stronger."
If these words ring true for one of the world's most respected leaders, surely they can serve as a guiding light for Detroit as it faces what many residents believe is the Motor City's most important mayoral race since Coleman A. Young narrowly defeated Sheriff John F. Nichols in November 1973.
That was a historic election as State Senator Young became Detroit's first African American mayor. Now, forty years later, the world once again watches as retired Detroit Medical Center CEO Mike Duggan and Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon compete to see who will become the next mayor of the largest municipality in U.S. history to seek bankruptcy protection.
Detroiters deserve to see these two very accomplished candidates debate the most pressing issues facing our city.
On Tuesday, October 29, beginning at 7:00 pm, they will have that opportunity. WXYZ-TV/Channel 7, in partnership with the Michigan Chronicle, News/Talk 760 WJR, Crain's Detroit Business, the Booker T. Washington Business Association and the Detroit Black Chamber, is proud to host the final Detroit Mayoral Debate where Napoleon and Duggan will face off before a studio audience of about 50 people at Channel 7 Broadcast House and 325 Detroit residents participating in the event from the General Motors auditorium inside Detroit's Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History.
Respected journalists Bankole Thompson, Carolyn Clifford, Glenda Lewis, Stephen Clark, Mary Kramer, and Lloyd Jackson will also join me in this "live" forum that will be broadcast on television and radio, and streamed on the internet.
My experience is that nothing captures the excitement like a final debate just one week before voters go to the polls to cast their ballots. I saw it 1993 when Channel 7 hosted the final debate between attorneys Dennis Archer and Sharon McPhail.
I saw it again in October 2001 when State Representative Kwame Kilpatrick and Detroit City Council President Gil Hill went toe-to-toe in our studios. And the final debates between Kilpatrick and former Detroit Deputy Mayor Freman Hendrix in 2005, and Detroit City Council President Ken Cockrel, Jr. and businessman Dave Bing in 2009 are extremely memorable. All of them gave viewers and voters an opportunity to size up the candidates one last time.
On Tuesday, November 5, the political future of Detroit is at stake like never before. Not only will city residents get to choose their highest elected official but for the first time in nearly 100 years, city council members will be elected from defined neighborhood districts. With so much on the line, the world will be watching who we choose to lead us into the future.
It's time to debate and vote. We hope you tune in for THE DEBATE on Tuesday, October 29.
Chuck Stokes is editorial director of WXYZ.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 23 October 2013 10:38
Category: News Briefs - Original Written by Bankole Thompson/Senior Editor
Anyone who is rooting for a better Detroit should be concerned about transparency and openness in the next Detroit government.
The struggles of everyday people and the efforts of those with genuine interest, including individuals and businesses invested in Detroit and its future, should not be squandered on the altar of secrecy, bureacracy and ineffectiveness where the public has little or no information regarding oversight of the government that purports to represent them.
That message was made clear Monday at Wayne State University Law School auditorium during the first "Detroit Good Governance Leadership Summit" where leaders in government, business, civic, labor, media and other segments of the community gathered to discuss tools and resources to ensure that there was transparency and accountability in local government, especially in light of what has taken place in Detroit in the last decade.
The arrival of the summit could not be more timely in light of the two mayoral contenders, Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon and former Detroit Medical Center CEO Mike Duggan, are vying for the top leadership of Detroit in the general election on Nov. 5. These candidates have an obligation to make transparency the central focus of their administration should, whichever one wins two weeks from now.
The cross-pollination of ideas at the summit underscored the strong interest from various individuals and groups concerned about the lack of transparency when dealing with government.
An example is Gov. Rick Snyder's secret Nerd Fund which was among the questions raised at the summit by panelist and labor leader Karla Swift, the newly minted president of the Michigan AFL-CIO who spoke candidly about the contradictory messages that political leaders send to their constituents. Public pressure forced the governor's office to declare this week that the fund was being shut down.
Detroit's newly appointed inspector general, James Heath, talked about the need for new municipal government to make openness and preventing waste a key element of how it does business on behalf of taxpayers.
According to Heath, the Office of Inspector General is uniquely positioned to play a prominent role in preventing wrongdoing before it drains valuable city resources.
"Toward that end, the OIG works cooperatively with city departments and agencies to institute the type of internal controls and best practices which can greatly deter waste, abuse, fraud, and corruption," Heath said.
He has assembled an impressive team of attorneys, auditors and investigators dedicated to the mission of accountability. The office is located at 65 Cadillac Square, suite 3210.
Consistent with the best practices of other investigatory agencies, Heath decided early on to locate the office outside of the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center to allow city employees and the general public to feel more secure in making complaints concerning wrongdoing they have observed and to be interviewed confidentially outside of the glare of City Hall.
Politicians always have an issue coming out clear on things and it is no surprise that they end up running afoul of not only the law but the expectations of good governance they often preach on the campaign trail.
U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade, whose office prosecuted former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick as well as many other city officials, was one of the summit organizers.
"Our city is ready to turn the page and move on from the corruption of the Kilpatrick administration, but it is important to learn from our history so that we do not repeat it. A government with integrity will ensure that the next chapter in our history is a positive one," McQuade said. "We are hopeful that rooting out public corruption will restore confidence in government and attract leaders with integrity. The city can attract businesses that were relegated to the sidelines during the days when bribery and extortion were part of our city's culture."
McQuade, who was appointed by President Obama continued, "Citizens who became cynical because of corruption can feel empowered to renew their engagement in civic life. There are many good and talented people in Detroit who are ready to step up and lead."
Dan Gilbert, Quicken Loans founder and chairman, appeared for a special conversation during which he spoke at length about Detroit and the need to change the narrative of the city.
Gilbert also took time to further dismiss the "60 Minutes" presentation on Detroit which he said underestimates the growth that is taking place in the city. He said he was ready to put the searchlight on helping rebuild Detroit's neighborhoods, citing as an example his willingness to be part of a three-person committee created to address blight in Detroit.
Bertram Marks, general counsel of the Detroit Council of Baptist Pators & Vicinity, highlighted the need for public trust. Detroiters, he said, want to have faith in their government.
"Those who wish to serve in public office can only be effective when they are trusted. Once trust is established, it must be maintained. Accountability to the needs and desires of the public should be the principal measure of how we screen and elect candidates for public service," Marks said. "We have all been both witness and victim to the wounds inflicted by corruption. It has been horrendous. Equally troubling is the rising tide of mistrust concerning the perceived agendas of political parties."
Marks said Detroit's revival cannot be a Republican or Democratic tool to promote the prowess of one party over another.
"Instead, the comeback story of Detroit must be an effort free from cronyism, racism, political wrangling and labeling. As Detroit rebuilds itself, those charged with the responsibility of governing must be bipartisan, multicultural and beyond pandering to wealth and power," Marks said. "The people who are most vulnerable in our community must be our top priority. Making sure these citizens have a high quality of life is how history will measure the revitalization of Detroit."
I have long maintained that the whole notion of government accountability is rooted in the idea of strong democratic governance. That those who seek public office must bring with them accountability as a virtue and a way of life. That elected and public officials sworn to protect the public's interests must conduct themselves always in and outside of their offices in a way that shows accountability, qualities and attributes deserving of anyone who should be trusted with the public coffers.
In our current political dispensation, the most visible and important example in seeking an honest government is the saga of former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, who was convicted in a sweeping federal corruption trial and has now been sentenced.
TV One network aired the first national comprehensive documentary on the rise of fall of the former mayor Monday night that was very telling. The one hour film on Kilpatrick captured in details and facts the essence of that era and really put into context the temptations that accompany political office and how that leads to bad governance. It is a sad American story to come from Detroit. But the city should not be held hostage by that era.
Sandy Baruah, president and CEO of the Detroit Regional Chamber, told the gathering at Wayne that it is time for Detroit to free itself from the Kilpatrick era and move on.
Federal Bar Association Chapter President Michael K. Lee applauded the summit, saying, "The power of elected officials is derived solely from the willingness of the people to agree to that governance. That willingness is contingent on the credibility of those in public office as seen through the eyes of that populace. A primary tool that a populace uses to measure that credibility is transparency, by which a populace can measure honesty and integrity."
Wayne Law Dean Jocelyn Benson also was a panelist at the summit, welcomed the opportunity for the law school to serve as the venue for the summit.
"An honest and open government is the most basic part of maintaining the public trust and reinforcing the democratic process," Benson said. "Wayne Law School is thrilled to be hosting this event focused on how the public, private and non-profit sectors can work together to ensure municipal government in Detroit is transparent and accountable."
Paul Tait, head of the Metropolitan Affairs Coalition (MAC), one of the summit sponsors who deputized for MAC chairperson and also chair of the Wayne State University Board of Governors Debbie Dingell, said it was timely that Detroit begins to look at public integrity in government with the next chapter of leadership.
Last Updated on Thursday, 24 October 2013 08:35
Category: News Briefs - Original Written by CNN News
Washington (CNN) -- The government-run health insurance exchanges have been open for business for 20 days. But a host of issues have plagued the highly anticipated launch, making it difficult for both consumers and insurance providers.
"There's no sugarcoating it," President Barack Obama said from the Rose Garden on Monday. "The problem has been that the website that's supposed to make it easy to apply for and purchase the insurance is not working the way it should for everybody."
What's not working
Error messages: HealthCare.gov is plagued with technical problems. The Obama administration hasn't completely released the cause or extent of the problems, likely because they haven't quite figured them out.
But people in all but 14 states and the District of Columbia are having trouble applying for the exchanges because the website isn't allowing them to complete the process.
"I put in my user name and password, it didn't recognize it," CNN's Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen reported Monday, saying that the website gave her error messages or said "page not found" or that the system was down.
Obamacare open enrollment: Here's everything you need to know
The problems appear to have been worse for those who signed up in the first days the exchanges opened.
Spinning icon: For others, the website is extremely slow. The spinning icon that indicates that the website is working, albeit slowly, is a huge frustration in the age of (relatively) fast connection speeds.
Faulty information: It's not only consumers wanting to sign up for health insurance who are having trouble, but the insurance companies that provide coverage are experiencing difficulties with the exchanges, too.
Insurance companies say the technical problems are causing the companies to receive both incomplete customer information and duplicate applications.
Internet overload: The White House indicated that the problems are exacerbated because of the large number of people who have visited HealthCare.gov. Obama said 20 million have visited the site since the exchanges opened on October 1.
While the President said he would not excuse the problem, he said half a million people have managed to sign up.
While that's a large number, it's only a fraction of the 48 million uninsured and 20 million who have visited HealthCare.gov.
Still, as some have been able to sign up, it's not all bad:
State-run exchanges: Fourteen states and the District of Columbia are running their own exchanges. Those websites are working much better.
Many of the states refused to implement their own exchanges in large part because of ideological opposition to the health care law, forcing the federal government to fill the void.
1-800-318-2596: That's the number to call if you want to sign up for health insurance by phone; by speaking to an actual person. It works.
Obama said wait times are "less than a minute." Cohen confirmed that receiving help via phone was a cinch.
"They're terrific. They're very helpful and they answer almost instantly," she said of the call operators.
5 things that have happened since Obamacare launched
Navigators: Recent polls suggest that the majority of people don't know much about the Affordable Care Act. A nonprofit set up to help people sign up for Obamcare, Enroll America, said they are seeing changes.
Justin Nisly, spokesman for Enroll America, said they have nearly doubled the number, from 4,000 to 7,000, working to educate the uninsured about the exchanges and health insurance.
Information: Before the exchanges opened, the cost and services provided were largely unknown. But both HealthCare.gov and the state-run exchange websites are providing detailed information about what people will get and how much it will cost.
Time: While the exchanges opened on October 1, coverage doesn't begin until January 1, and the deadline for having coverage in place is March 1, so there's still time to sign up. Officials are recommending people who need to sign up do so by February 15 to ensure the coverage will take effect in time.
Last Updated on Monday, 21 October 2013 23:38
Category: News Briefs - Original Written by AJ Williams, Chronicle Web Editor
The Detroit Black Chamber of Commerce, BTWBA and WXYZ-TV will host the final debate between Detroit mayoral candidates Benny Napoleon and Mike Duggan on Tuesday, Oct. 29. The debate takes place exactly one week before Detroiters go to the polls to choose their next mayor.
The candidates will face-off at Channel 7’s Broadcast House from 7-8 p.m. in front of a live studio audience. A larger audience of Detroit voters will watch and participate in the debate from the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History where Channel 7 anchor/reporter Glenda Lewis will be on hand. Channel 7 Action News anchor Stephen Clark will moderate a special post-debate webcast from 8-8:30 p.m. from the museum hosted by the Detroit Black Chamber of Commerce and Booker T. Washington Business Association.
“The Detroit Black Chamber of Commerce is committed to bringing value, leadership and advocacy to its members and partnering with WXYZ-TV and BTWBA for this mayoral debate shows that by working together we can better serve the residents of Detroit. This is the final mayoral debate, I personally urge each and every Detroit voter to make your voice heard on Nov. 5th,” said Tony Stovall, president of the DBCC.
Channel 7’s editorial and public affairs director Chuck Stokes will moderate this final Detroit mayoral debate. Questions will be asked by a panel that includes Carolyn Clifford, 7 Action News anchor; Lloyd Jackson, WJR News/Talk 760 assistant news director; Bankole Thompson, senior editor of the Michigan Chronicle; and Crain’s Detroit Business Publisher Mary Kramer. The Detroit Black Chamber of Commerce and Booker T. Washington Business Association are also participating sponsors of the debate.
Viewers will be able to watch the debate live on WXYZ-TV as well as on wxyz.com and the station’s mobile apps and us #7Debate.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 22 October 2013 09:46
Category: News Briefs - Original Written by AJ Williams, Chronicle Web Editor
The Detroit City Council voted on Monday unanimously against another deal organized by Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr designed to save the city millions of dollar. A $350-million loan for bankruptcy financing secured by Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr, The Detroit News reports.
The state’s emergency manager law allows the City Council to accept or reject the deal. The six-member council now has seven days to propose an alternative to the state’s local emergency loan board that would reach the same financial result as Orr’s agreement or better.
It didn’t appear Monday the council would offer an alternative. Instead, it will let bankruptcy court proceedings play out.
“The reality is, it seems to me, that one could make the argument that an alternative plan is not to act on this at all, but rather to fight on this issue in bankruptcy court,” Councilman Kenneth Cockrel Jr. said, questioning the timing of Orr’s deal.
Last Updated on Monday, 21 October 2013 22:51
Category: News Briefs - Original Written by M Live
DETROIT, MI - Buses aren't running in Detroit Monday after drivers allegedly called in sick to protest dangerous working conditions.
A recording to on the Detroit Department of Transportation's hotline says buses won't run today.
"Sorry to announce the bus drivers union has scheduled a sick out on Monday, Oct. 21," a recorded message says. "Bus service will not be in operation." Continue to MLive.com
Last Updated on Monday, 21 October 2013 09:33
Category: News Briefs Written by Bankole Thompson/Chronicle senior editor
The vibrant Detroit riverfront was not shown in the "60 Minutes" report.– Photos courtesy Detroit Riverfront Conservancy
Like hundreds or perhaps thousands of people, I looked forward to the CBS "60 Minutes" "Detroit on the Edge" report Sunday evening, especially in the wake of the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history taking place before our very eyes.
Like others, I was hopeful that the storied news magazine would provide a picture that was not only reflective of how the city got to where it is, but also how it is battling to move forward beyond the old narratives, anecdotes and tales that have defined and confined the city's ability to grow for decades.
And so I hurried home Sunday evening to make sure I caught the entire presentation by "60 Minutes" correspondent Bob Simon after weeks of conversation about what the revered program was going to show the world about Detroit.
I initially began to be suspect of Simon and his assignment when I read his description of Detroit as another Somalia in the Midwest before his story aired. No big deal, I said to myself. I wanted to give Simon the benefit of the doubt because I can understand how the traveled newsman may be jaded by some of the despair he's witnessed in the Motor City, like any of us.
Nonetheless, I still wanted to see his story because it was an opportunity for Detroit's pain and comeback to be told by an outlet that has long built its reputation on fairness, independence and trenchant journalism.
That is why most people watch "60 Minutes" — because they believe that it remains one of the last frontiers of trenchant journalism even as the digital age begins to rapidly transform how we deliver news. That still has not changed the fact that the news program continues to attract leaders at the highest levels in this nation including President Obama who, like presidents before him, still see "60 Minutes" as the outlet to give thoughtful television interviews to.
So I expected a thoughtful analysis, coverage of the biggest municipal bankruptcy that rocked the financial foundations of global powers like China forcing Beijing to examine how it funded its local governments.
To my disappointment, "60 Minutes" only dedicated 13 minutes to telling the crucial story of the largest bankruptcy of its kind in the nation, and the entire segment was based on covering the extreme circumstances in Detroit and the obvious dysfunction of city services, including police and fire, and the ubiquitous blight we have.
Dan Gilbert, founder and chairman of Quicken Loans, who has purchased almost 40 buildings downtown and moved his signature companies to the business district with thousands of employees, making him a central player in Detroit's renaissance, was interviewed.
Gilbert has since dismissed the "60 Minutes" report as "ruin porn" and said he expected more from "60 Minutes."
Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr also was seated for the interview, as was the case with John George of Motor City Blight Busters and Detroit Institute of Arts CEO Graham Beal.
But what the segment failed to show was the efforts being put into bringing the city back. That despite the same old Packard plant "60 Minutes" showed that has been used by national outlets for years as a symbol of Detroit's decline, Detroit has communities that are rejuvenating themselves into vibrant neighborhoods like Brightmoor and other communities.
There are neighborhoods being transformed into robust communities.
What the segment did not do was to chronicle the number of young professionals — Black and White — who are moving back to Detroit, passing on choices such as New York and San Francisco and choosing the Motor City instead because of its promise of a city with huge potential and their determination to be a part of that resurgence.
What the segment woefully and unforgivably omitted was, in a majority African-American city, the number of people who are diversely engaged in thought and perspective in creating a renaissance Detroit which includes Blacks in prominent positions rewriting the next chapter for Detroit, as an example of what committed individuals are willing to do for their city. This despite the sense of pessimism that often tends to negate the bright lights of transformation and innovation.
Faye Nelson, an African-American, is CEO of the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy, one of the city's proud jewels that just clocked 10 years a few weeks ago. The story of the riverfront, a billion- dollar project, is one of the most enduring stories in Detroit's comeback. The present state of the riverfront sharply contradicts its past.
The kind of coalition that was created to develop the riverfront shows that despite the intransigence around race, honest and diligent people of goodwill can come together for a project and make it work for the greater good.
Why wasn't Nelson interviewed to tell the story of how thousands of families from all corners of the city and beyond look to the riverfront as peaceful destination, despite the burden and the difficulties of trying to cope with half-baked city services? The riverfront sits between Detroit and Canada, making it an international tourist attraction.
The success of the riverfront is an example of coalition building and that is a story "60 Minutes" correspondent Simon could have told. Detroit and its people are intelligent and creative and the riverfront is a product of that creativity. If Simon wanted to do a meaningful story on Detroit, following are some recommendations for him.
George Jackson, CEO of the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, has negotiated every major development downtown. Cindy Pasky, is chairperson of the Downtown Detroit Partnership, an organization that has pivotal in the comeback of the city. U-SNAP-BAC is a community organization on the city's east side run by Linda Smith that is helping to revitalize the city.
Where Simon failed the journalism test is on the question of balance. Even if the intent of the piece was to be scandalous or extreme, the reporter has an obligation to tell the other side of the story, and there are two sides to every issue.
Contrary to what some believe, not everyone is inclined to gravitate towards the most chilling, titillating or simply unjustifiable negative presentation. The business of journalism requires of those who strictly report the news to do so in such a way that presents a balanced picture of the subject matter. In this case, Simon failed the aptitude test — Journalism 101.
By coming out fully to compare Detroit to Mogadishu, the capital of war-torn Somalia, days before his report was aired, Simon showed the intention of his report: simply confirm his Mogadishu opinions about Detroit by brandishing the extreme on television. He failed the canon of journalistic fairness, which is to strive to be as neutral as possible.
In a rather awkward way, Simon trapped himself in a so-called balanced report that only showed how little attention he has paid to Detroit, and also underscores the danger of walking right into hotbed issues or coverage subjects without an open mind. He came in with his mind already made up. He left with the Mogadishu designation before he unleashed a Detroit report that only confirmed his prejudice.
The "60 Minutes" Detroit treatment should cause all of us to ponder, and especially note what the British journalist Nick Davies wrote in his book "Flat Earth News," which exposes falsehood, distortion and propaganda in the global media.
Davies contends that sometimes journalists find themselves using recycled information and opinions that are in the public domain as legitimate news. In fact, he says it is not journalism but, rather, "churnalism."
In this case Simon's view of Detroit as another Somalia and its direct correlation to his report are part of biased and subjective opinions about the city that often grace the pages of national media reviews.
There is nothing new there. Instead of showing the total perspective about the city, it appears Simon basically ignored the simple journalistic tenet of the fourth estate: tell the whole story.
Even a high school broadcast student could have produced the report that Simon did if they had a camera crew. The report itself was clearly devoid of any cogent analysis of the city's long historical struggle nor did it give the viewers an understanding of what the biggest bankruptcy in American history means for other financially struggling cities.
Rather, Simon made it look as if getting the real story was difficult and that this was supposed to be the final rendering of what other news organizations have found it difficult to convey about Detroit over the years.
Same old story.
We were greatly disappointed.
Last Updated on Friday, 18 October 2013 12:37
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