N.Y. Times Says Columbia is “Reeling”

New York Times Uses Columbia as National Model

On Monday, The New York Times used Columbia, SC as the perfect microcosm for the U.S. economy. >>The article is not good, and the headline is worse.

It’s intent may or may not be true, but the timing and manner the article was written was absolutely unfair. There are numerous examples of sensationalism, and even more examples of clever writing. Here are a few.

1. “A Reeling South Carolina City.” – Of course Columbia isn’t perfect, but I wouldn’t think we’re “REELING.” Not only is this not flattering in a world that needs some positive thinking, but The Times put this as it’s HEADLINE. Not just a headline mind you, but this is what America saw on the front page and Above The Fold! Some of us in Columbia may not think this is a big deal, but this is arguably the most read newspaper on earth. Just think of seeing this on every little wooden shelf in EVERY Starbucks in America…just to start. Oooooooooof.

2. “This is now an unfortunate distinction. Some 533,000 jobs disappeared from the economy in November, the worst month since 1974.” – The way this reads to the average American, is that Columbia lost 533,000 jobs. You have to read the paragraph a few times to realize that the writer (Peter Goodman) is talking about U.S. numbers. If you know Columbia, you know this isn’t possible…but this is the way it reads and it’s wreckless writing at best.

3. The first project Mr. Goodman cites is the “redevelopment of N. Main St., a bedraggled corridor of hard-luck retailers that lacks sidewalks in many spots, with exposed power lines dipping down to cracked pavement.” – I’m shaking my head right now. Everyone knows that as N. Main St. is part of Columbia, it is not “Columbia, SC”. Although Mr. Goodman has some positive thoughts later on, to lead off with this example is irresponsible.

I’m fine with The Times using Columbia as a snapshot of the U.S. economy. What I’m not fine with is the fact that he writes how crappy the U.S. economy is, then uses the most challenged parts of our city as its examples.

If you read the rather long article, it basically paints a picture of him in line at a job fair at the State Fairgrounds and in the back seat of a car, as he rides down North Main Street.

We’ll see if anyone steps up and defends our Columbia, or if we let the New York Times describe us with this “drive by” reporting.

I happen to believe that if Columbia, South Carolina is the perfect microcosm of the U.S. as a whole, we’re gonna be o.k.

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