Wednesday, June 26, 2013
Some publications just can't let good news happen without a hint of negativity attached. The pejorative "Rust Belt" is one way to ensure that always happens when it comes to stories featuring Ohio.
Frankly, this pattern of associating a negative term with just about anything positive that happens in Ohio is just plain lazy journalism. The "rags to riches" story angle is taught in Journalism 101 and must get reinforced by every editor along the way.
The only way I know to combat it is to call them out on it.
So here's the call out. Let's call it a R-Word Alert.
The celebration of the opening of a new headquarters for Goodyear in Akron was the example du jour yesterday in the New York Times. The headline "Akron Shakes Off Some Rust With Goodyear Tire's Help" makes my point all on its own.
Apparently, a story about a $160 million new HQ and associated redevelopment wouldn't be complete without saying, "Akron was a gritty and polluted city that employed 58,000 rubber industry workers." Then, adding in for good measure, "Just like the other industrial cities of the Midwest that formed the Rust Belt, the end of tire manufacturing, and the loss of over 20,000 jobs, was the start of a long period of civic trauma that sent the city’s population sliding."
I guess we can be glad it was buried on Page B6.