Media An Infuriating Exchange With Another Reporter
posted by August 1 at 14:10 PMon
Last night, I received an email from another reporter in town who covered the Critical Mass mess, complaining about how I characterized their reporting in my story about the incident.
I generally keep email exchanges with other reporters off Slog, but this one is just so fucking fucked up, that I couldn’t just let it sit in my inbox.
Hey Jonah, I saw your piece on the big melee. You know, I don’t think my initial story portrayed the driver as a victim.
In fact, I took great care to not even use the word ‘victim’ in my article. The only time the word was used was when, in response to my interview with Tom Braun, I specifically asked Officer Mark Jamieson why the driver wasn’t being investigated.
His response was that as far as they were concerned, the driver was the victim.
I can’t speak for the other articles written on the subject. But I don’t think it was fair to characterize my story as being one that portrayed this clash as a one-sided affair, particularly since I took pains to avoid doing so. I know you don’t name me by name, but you did mention the XXXXX as being among those media outlets to give a one-sided account of the incident and I just don’t think that’s true.
That was it. See you around,
thanks for the email. However, I’m going to have to respectfully disagree that I mischaracterized your story. While you did indeed add an interview with Tom Braun in a later report, the [earlier] version … very much paints the driver as the victim.
In your second graph, you mention the motorist was assaulted by cyclists. It’s not until your 12th graph that you mention the fact that the driver struck several cyclists with his car. You also state that one of the cyclists punched the driver which, according to the driver, is inaccurate.
Much of your story’s focus seems to be on the damage done to the driver’s car, and repeatedly quotes Mark Jamieson who, when I spoke with him around the time your story was posted, had not read the police report but still seemed contemptuous of the cyclists and sure that they were solely at fault.
While you did eventually catch up on your reporting, the initial reports that came out of your paper—not to mention XXXXX, XXXXX, etc—completely failed to get the other side of the story. It wasn’t difficult to reach out to CM riders and get their version of events, so I’m not sure why that didn’t happen sooner.
Having said all of that, if you still feel like I was unfair, let me know.
Oh, absolutely. I completely agree that those earlier versions were entirely one-sided. You’re also right it wasn’t hard to find riders. … I just didn’t have the time to devote to the story that I would have liked. I’m glad Tom Braun reached out. Thanks for your thoughtful reply. -XXXX
Wow. Just wow.