Showing posts with label Show all posts
Showing posts with label Show all posts

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

As an African-American, Mother and accidental Peorian, I am continually offended by the local newspaper

I find the high level of condescension and what I believe to be race baiting that continues to appear on the Editorial page of the Peoria Journal Star, nothing short of offensive. I would think the "type" of people they feel free to slam in these editorials don't read the newspaper, so one begins to wonder - exactly who are these editorials directed to? 

The continued editorials in a newspaper that is known for allowing hateful comments on articles about African-Americans is the reason I don't allow my children or any out of town visitors to read the local newspaper. Unfortunately, the editorials sound a lot like the hateful rhetoric that appears regularly on and local blogs - including EmergePeoria.

Below are just a few of the comments from recent editorials that I find in poor taste. Below that are just a few of the comments that racists are allowed to make on The comments are seldom if ever removed for racist content.

July 6, 2012
"One wouldn't give them too much credit for self-restraint, however, as their enthusiasm for mayhem was likely quelled somewhat by the earlier presence of 22 police officers patrolling the public housing project, hoping to prevent a repeat of last year. As always, that uniform presence makes a difference. As soon as that disappeared, all hell broke loose."

"Some locals don't like the badges hanging around, of course. One visitor to Taft told a Journal Star reporter, "I don't want to say it's (military) tactics, but that's kind of what it feels like ... I understand the police presence to a degree, but this is overbearing."
" To which police Lt. Mike Eddlemon responded, and rightly in this view: "That's too bad ... I'm not doing and my officers aren't doing anything other than providing a safe atmosphere for everyone here."
"It's fair to ask: When was the last time police felt compelled to fire pepper balls to try to disperse a mob in a surrounding community?"

"At what point does the bar get raised not just for external influences - teachers, law enforcement, etc. - but for those who have the most direct responsibility for what they choose to gift to or unleash on the world? These kids have parents or some contact with an adult who should know better, don't they?"

"Here's one rule of thumb: Police yourself, police your own family, police your own block, and in time there will be no need for an "overbearing" police presence anywhere in the community."

"Meanwhile, the irony should not be lost on anyone: Even on Independence Day, independence can be too much of a burden for some."

Posted Jul 09, 2012 @ 11:01 PM
"… making their presence known, confronting young people in traffic stops, enforcing curfews, issuing citations for even the most innocuous of violations, impounding vehicles, just generally hassling those who are up to no good in a community that would be immeasurably better off if they shaped up or took themselves elsewhere."

"Few people wish to live with an occupying force in their neighborhoods, but apparently quite a few don't dislike it enough to cooperate with police so that indefensible crimes such as the drive-by shooting that killed 8-year-old Albert Billups in his sleep a year ago don't go unsolved."
"They hate the police, they hate the neighbor who wants to clean up the neighborhood. They are ... hell bent on destruction and disorder," noted Lt. Mike Eddlemon, who's leading the task force.
"Arrests are made when people who will not tolerate living like that tell police what they know, as someone did regarding the whereabouts of those allegedly responsible in the homicide of an East Peoria man in June. Two Peoria men are now in jail on first degree murder charges, facing the bleakest of futures."

"Of course, if you enjoy the nightly gun play, if you want your kids growing up in an environment where "you never know when a bullet could fly off in the wrong direction" - where if you don't lose them to violent crime you might forfeit them to gangs and jails instead - then by all means, keep your mouth shut. Most folks, it's safe to say, would weary of that lifestyle, but hey, the world is made up of all kinds."

"In any case, it's very troubling to hear a young teen say "we're not scared" while describing that kind of existence. The adults in the community have failed him, because that is not the right reaction. He and his siblings should be frightened. Peoria's leadership owes it to them to help them appreciate that shootouts in the streets are not normal. For those who disdain the tactics in preventing that, well, get used to them."

Click images to enlarge.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Bloggers and the News Ombudsman

Across the country newspapers are looking at ways to cut costs and are letting go of their newspaper ombudsmen. Why? Because it is a widely held belief that because newspapers now allow bloggers to comment on stories, we no longer need ombudsmen to make sure that a story is not slanted one way or another. However, I am under the impression that the opposite needs to happen. In my opinion, the advent of local blogs and citizen bloggers make it even more necessary for newspapers to hire ombudsmen to protect the integrity of the newspaper and the city as a whole.

A news ombudsman receives and investigates complaints from newspaper readers or listeners or viewers of radio and television stations about accuracy, fairness, balance and good taste in news coverage. He or she recommends appropriate remedies or responses to correct or clarify news reports.

News ombudsmen generally function in an advisory capacity only, not as disciplinarians. Some newspapers use titles such as "readers' representative," "readers' advocate," or "public editor." Others have an assistant managing editor or an assistant to a senior editor who act as ombudsman. (from

If you read, you know that citizen bloggers are expressing negative feelings for fellow citizens, for City initiatives and for the City as a whole. More specifically, if there is a story about minorities committing crimes, the school district, new taxes, or the police, the comments of bloggers can be down right nasty. So nasty, that the City and the Journal Star could come off looking like they condone such hateful comments when they can’t catch them fast enough.

If you were looking to move to Peoria and read the local blogs or the newspaper on line, chances are you would come away with the impression that Peoria is filled with negativity; all political leaders care about is a museum; gangs run the City; and/or the schools are worthless. These conclusions may or may not be true, but outsiders could possibly begin to view Peoria as a city devoid of culture and indifferent to diversity.

Lately the Journal Star has been restricting comments on certain stories. It’s difficult to pin point what story they may or may not allow posting, readers are left to guess why. Sometimes they allow posting on a story that seems like they should have closed. Local bloggers pick up on the story and people go to the local blogs and comment and yes, sometimes in this process, the City and the Journal Star are slammed for closing off comments and not allowing the story to be explored further by citizen bloggers.

Newspapers don’t like it, but local blogs have an impact on what stories city newspapers cover. Community blogs that have high reader interaction often raise issues that the main stream media (i.e., local news stations and newspapers) are not covering. As a result, citizens could be left to question if the news [paper] is fair and balanced in their coverage of certain issues. Closing off all comments on certain stories invites this type of scrutiny.

It’s not just locally that there are concerns about the impact of citizen bloggers. In Salisbury, Maryland, the mayor has gone on record with her belief that malicious bloggers are endangering the moral of the city:

Citizens - bloggers (negative and otherwise) are challenging newspapers and city leaders like never before. In the current environment, any city and/or newspaper with a citizenship that actively participates in blogging could benefit from the ombudsman.

As newspapers struggle to compete with the blogosphere, self-regulation and reputation management will be more important than ever. A person on staff, who the public know is an advocate, is good public relations for a city and a newspaper.

Click here and here to see the above-referenced news items.