17 min

Did the Toledo Blade follow in the footsteps of EconCat88?

my jun 15, 2014 tt post

"So when Econcat88 does it, it's negativism that will set this town back 100 years. When the Blade does it, it's journalism."

Amateur versus professional.

November 2013 Toledo Blade front page story.

June 2014 Toledo Blade front page story

That latter is a "Special Report."

I think the June 2014 story headline should read:

"Toledo Blade: Trashing Toledo one negative story at a time."

It appears that the Blade started the hashtag # UglyTruthToledo on Fri, Jun 13, 2014.


How have you witnessed # Toledo's decline? We give our account of urban blight in Sunday's paper. # UglyTruthToledo http://tol.bz/1llx3vd


Jun 13, 2014 tweet

Either it was OK for EconCat88 to point it out then or it's an outrage to point it out now, right? # confused # uglytruthtoledo

From the Jun 15, 2014 Blade story:

Fingers point to a passel of nincompoops.

When shown photographs taken by The Blade of blighted areas of Toledo, Mr. Finkbeiner said such deplorable conditions would have been cleaned up under his administration, even if it took repeated efforts to get results.

Another former Toledo mayor, Jack Ford, now chairman of City Council’s neighborhoods committee, said the city should step up and take care of problems such as high grass or clearing trash.

For District 6 Councilman Lindsay Webb, who represents Point Place, this issue is personal.

Quoting directly from and paraphrasing some of the Blade's stories from Nov 2013, Dec 2013, and Jan 2014 that mentioned EconCat88, and adjusting the language, so that the stories apply to the Blade's June 2014 negative assault on Toledo.

Nov 24, 2013

  • “I’m not sure what you gain from dumping on your city,” said Jeff Schaaf, brand manager for the Toledo Brand Initiative project.
  • It’s unknown what impact stories such as the Toledo Blade's will have on the city’s economic development efforts, said city spokesman Jen Sorgenfrei, but they could have a negative impact on a family planning a trip to watch a baseball game in the Midwest that didn’t know much about Toledo. Maybe they’d go elsewhere after seeing and reading the Toledo Blade's work, she said.
  • “That is an economic impact,” Ms. Sorgenfrei said. “They are also not going to spend money on a hotel or restaurant.”
  • It’s also not exactly clear, Mr. Schaaf said, what the Toledo Blade hopes to gain from the stories. The Blade's posts are similar in some ways to ruin porn, a style of photography focused on urban decay. Some stories seem to point out poverty and businesses that have hit hard times.
  • It could be argued that what The Blade does is not fundamentally different than traditional journalism. They document what they feel are things that should be changed in a community in order to create awareness. And, to be fair, it’s not the media’s job to make a city look good. The Blade was criticized by, among others, Mayor Mike Bell, for its gang series, which he said hurt the city’s reputation.
  • It’s not easy to combat media posts that put a city down, said Mike Horning, an assistant professor of journalism and public relations at Bowling Green State University. “In one sense it is a positive thing, because it helps a person take an active role in their community,” Mr. Horning said.
  • There’s not much Toledo officials can do about The Blade's stories. It’s free speech, and they have the right to post stories.
  • What the city should do, Mr. Horning said, is push its own message. “You have to fight speech with more speech,” he said.
  • That’s exactly what Mr. Schaaf said is the plan. He said he doesn’t want to get into a “pissing match” with negative commentators but instead would like to focus on the positive in the region. The Toledo Brand Initiative plans to do a video similar to one done by the Downtown Cleveland Alliance.
  • And while the internet and a printing press make it easy for the media to trash a city, the internet also makes it easy for residents to post their own positive messages about a city they love. There are Instagram accounts devoted to photographing beautiful parts of the region, for instance.

Nov 25, 2013

  • Toledo is a great place to live — not the urban wasteland portrayed on the internet and in print by the Toledo Blade — was the message from prominent Toledoans contacted Sunday after the Blade stories were published.
  • As the Toledo Blade might well expect, their stories drew a lot of tut-tutting from local officials, many of whom have the job of trying to promote Toledo as a great place to live and do business in.
  • “That’s one of the biggest issues our community has. We tend to focus on the negative and not on the positive,” [Former] councilman Adam Martinez said. “Blasting it to the rest of the world doesn’t say much for this paper — or the city of Toledo.”
  • “Having said that, the pictures that were found in The Blade certainly have to be defined as accurate, and they do exist. However, I would take that in a different direction. Defining our problems is one thing, but it is shallow if there are no efforts to correct them,” Mr. Collins said.
  • "And let’s only not correct what The Blade has defined as issues for Toledo, but let’s take on all the issues, and let’s make Toledo a city that is refreshingly clean and the city that engages problem-solving as opposed to the chronic answer, which is acceptance,” Mr. Collins said.
  • Mr. Finkbeiner said he would like to issue to the author of the Blade stories a personal invitation to accompany him on a tour to point out the city’s “dynamic improvements,” including the campuses of the University of Toledo and University of Toledo Medical Center, which is the former Medical College of Ohio, the Jeep plant, the Museum of Art, and the many vibrant residential neighborhoods that dot the city.
  • “If one is to be critical of that community that you are part of ... go roll up your sleeves and go out and improve the quality of the community or environment,” Mr. Finkbeiner said. “It is easy to fault, but sometimes it shows a lack of thorough knowledge of the entity you are criticizing.”
  • “I don’t agree with the negative information about Toledo,” [Steel] said. “I can, as a council member and person who has lived in Toledo and intends to live the rest of my life here, say I want the best of Toledo to be put forward as much as we can. We have the same challenges as any aging industrial city in the Midwest. ... However, I have seen a lot of positive things.”
  • As someone who moved to Toledo about 10 years ago, Mr. Burwell said he’s noticed that transplants seem to be bigger admirers of the city than are the people who grew up here, including, apparently, the Toledo Blade.
  • “Talk to people who didn’t grow up here they’ll tell you it’s the best place to live. The Blade should go away and come back and see what they're missing,” Mr. Burwell said. However, he did not encourage further publicizing of The Blade as it just “gives them more credence.”

Nov 25, 2013

  • I have some sympathy for The Blade's righteous anger. Why have we let our housing stock deteriorate so much? Why do we take such poor care of our parks? Why do we let ourselves be snookered and conned?
  • Most of all, why is the Toledo Blade the first voice and image you hear of Toledo? Why is this paper introducing our city to the world and analyzing our problems on the internet and in print?
  • The Blade is entitled, of course. They're exercising their right to free speech. But why aren’t our business and political and academic leaders showing the electronic world the positive side of our city?
  • Where is the Chamber of Commerce? Where is the man who should be the city’s leading salesman — the mayor?
  • This problem goes beyond branding or marketing. It’s more fundamental than that.
  • The question is: Who will define Toledo? Will it be the critics, the cynics, and the nihilists? Or will it be the builders?
  • I don’t know what has disappointed and embittered The Blade. I’d like to see the paper be part of the solution and not the problem.
  • But I know we can’t let The Blade be the face of Toledo on the internet and in print.
  • This city has so much more going for it than most cities this size — all the economic ingredients, including a skilled work force, plus location, and a citizenry that cares.

Nov 25, 2013

  • Toledo Blade, come in out from the cold
  • Toledo newspaper is negative, but appears to care
  • So this is what I would say to the Toledo Blade: Let’s talk.
  • I would like to see the Toledo Blade go to the next level: Don’t be a crank.
  • Personally, I’d like to buy the Blade a cup of coffee and hear how the newspaper got into this.
  • And maybe we could have a public forum — perhaps at the library. The Blade could read two or three of their stories and we could have an open discussion and let the public talk it out. What issues aren’t we facing? What practical, small steps can we take to improve life in Toledo now?
  • Toledo Blade, it is incumbent upon you to step up. Let’s have a conversation.

Nov 26, 2013

(What if the Blade removed their negative stories about Toledo?)

  • “I am pleased that they realized that there was no value added in what they were doing,” Mr. Collins said. “However, that doesn’t change the issues. I’d like The Blade to be a vehicle to move the city in a progressive direction, and I welcome their participation while I am in office."
  • Former Mayor Carty Finkbeiner offered on Sunday to take The Blade on a tour of Toledo to show off its dynamic redevelopment.

Nov 29, 2013

  • City Councilman Steven Steel has a solid idea: Encourage everyday people to create alternative stories that portray the positives of Toledo, and have them posted and viewed on a video-hosting Web site created by The Blade or another outlet.

Dec 6, 2013

  • It’s also hard to tell whether The Blade is motivated by compassion for the poor, nostalgia for Toledo of a bygone day, or hostility toward “Toledo homers” who seek to conceal the seedier reality of Toledo.

Dec 27, 2013

  • Toledo’s image shouldn’t be defined by stories of urban decay published by the Toledo Blade, or by snooty British journalists who rave about a major art exhibition in London but neglect to mention the Toledo Museum of Art’s role in mounting it.

Jan 19, 2014

  • I don’t have the answer, but the people leading Toledo’s branding initiative need to dig deeper and wider into the community. They need a jolt. The published stories by the Toledo Blade, many of them portraying Toledo as a wasteland, probably did more to get people talking about the city’s image than a branding initiative that’s more than four years old.

My Jun 16, 2014 Toledo Talk comment

Dumbass columnist idea:

We create a voluntary blight tax — a check-off. A citizen could donate $1, $10, $50, or $100 a year to a dedicated blight fund. It would be small at first. But I believe most Toledoans would give something.

Sorry Burris, but my wife and I are years ahead of your puny brain. We have voluntarily donated money to an anti-blight fund every year that we've been homeowners (paying a mortgage).

Our anti-blight fund is distributed to orgs, such as The Andersons, Bench's greenhouse, Black Diamond Nursery, Home Depot, etc.

In turn, those orgs gives us the plants and materials that we use to maintain our home and yard, which requires a good bit of our free time, including, once again, this past weekend.

For more challenging tasks, we voluntarily give money to contractors who come to our home to complete the needed work.

We are not alone in this endeavor. Many homeowners in our neighborhood also donate to this type of anti-blight fund, which makes talking long walks in our neighborhood an enjoyable experience.

People don't give a shit and let their homes, yards, and neighborhoods fall into ruin, and Burris wants me to voluntary give money to this cause.

To quote the great philosopher, Charlie Sheen, who probably said to someone at some point in some place:

Fuck you.

I believe that it's entirely within the realm of everyone to purchase a used rake, shovel, broom, hand saw, hand trimmers, and wheelbarrow. Obviously, it takes some effort to groom a small lot on a regular basis, but what's wrong with a little manual labor? And where's the pride, man, for a job well done? I don't like doing yard work, but I like the way the yard looks when I'm done, and that feels good.

Apparently, American adults watch four to six hours of television each day. Per day! How in the hell do people have the time to watch that much TV, but more importantly, how in the hell do people have the interest in watching that much TV each day? How do people manage to remain still that long? How can people not have other interests? If the TV viewer is knitting clothing or carving duck decoys or doing something creative while watching TV four to six hours per day, then okay.

Maybe people need to turn off the damn TV and devote one hour per day of their own time and their own money to maintaining their home and property.

Burris never mentioned "personal responsibility" in his column, unless that phrase was hidden behind coded language.

To me, it's a basic, common-sense, human function to maintain personal property whether owning or renting. I don't understand why people choose otherwise. But I also know that I won't voluntarily give money to this confusion.

my jun 17, 2014 tt comment

"If it isn't Ford, it's Finkbeiner."

I was wondering if I had misread the Blade stories because it seems that all of a sudden in June 2014, Ford and Carty have ideas.

Those two were mayor of Toledo from January 1994 to January 2010.

November 2006 Toledo Talk post titled Toledo 'looks like a war zone' that pointed to a Toledo Free Press story:

In the Nov. 30 [,2006] issue of Rolling Stone, David Gergen, who served presidents Nixon, Ford, Reagan and Clinton, told publisher Jann S. Wenner Toledo "looks like a war zone" ...

"Mr. Gergen insulted - not only Toledoans - but himself," Toledo Mayor Carty Finkbeiner said in an e-mail. "He knows nothing of Toledo after spending a few hours here. Had he visited our art museum, our zoo, our parks, or our university, he would have been informed. He did not and his comment reflects his ignorance of our city."

Blade follow-up opinions:

We see the city not for what it is, but for what we want it to be or what it once was. We drive along Monroe Street with an eye that seeks out the incandescently lovely new Glass Pavilion or the grand old Victorian mansions.

That same eye tends to skip over any offending blight. How many of us, though, noticed that some of those boarded-up apartments west of the museum were lived in not so very long ago?

And don't even get me started on the empty businesses and decrepit buildings that once housed factories. We can't fix what we can't - or don't - see.

While we laud the construction of the magnificent new Jeep plant and the Museum of Art's Glass Pavilion, we need to recognize blight elsewhere. Unless we face the reality of today's challenges and failings, Toledo cannot move forward.

Thirty years ago Toledo was prosperous. Downtown bustled. Our manufacturing economy was humming. But as the economic landscape changed, Toledo failed to change with it. The city retained a faith in industrial jobs, the good-paying jobs that had supported families for generations.

It was, of course, a false hope.

Smokestacks fell and Toledo was slow to pursue tech-based companies for a new century. The city did not diversify its economy. As a result it fell behind other communities more nimble and better able to adapt. So we are left with barren open spaces and abandoned manufacturing plants.

We don't like folks from elsewhere pointing out our faults. But that shouldn't blind us to the truth they sometimes tell.

Hacker News thread that points to a June 15, 2014 Politico story titled:

Turn Detroit into Drone Valley
"How to build innovation clusters beyond California."
by Marc Andreessen

Previous efforts at such clusters failed for a variety of reasons, but one big reason is that government efforts alone simply don’t draw people. That’s why a recent crop of experiments has focused more on building entrepreneurial communities, urban hubs and districts, and hackerspaces.

But policymakers shouldn’t be trying to copy Silicon Valley. Instead, they should be figuring out what domain is (or could be) specific to their region—and then removing the regulatory hurdles for that particular domain. Because we don’t want 50 Silicon Valleys; we want 50 different variations of Silicon Valley, all unique from each other and all focusing on different domains.

There are many new categories of innovation out there and entrepreneurs eager to go after opportunities within each of them. Rethinking the regulatory barriers in specific industries would better draw the startups, researchers and divisions of big companies that want to innovate in the vanguard of a particular domain.

June 10, 2014 - Detroit Denies Last-Minute Reprieve for Goats

Because Detroit does not have any other problems.

The hedge fund manager Mark Spitznagel has been denied a last-minute reprieve for his guerrilla urban farming project.

And now, the 18 baby goats that he brought to the Brightmoor section of Detroit, to help clean up the overgrown area blighted by the city’s financial crisis, will now be sold to the butchers.

The Idyll Farm Detroit plan was to enlist the help of local residents, paying previously unemployed adults to help herd the goats.

Mr. Spitznagel and his team had not sought preapproval for the project from Mayor Mike Duggan’s office. Instead, they hoped to persuade the local government by moving ahead with their plan.

Oops. Didn't jump through the bureaucratic hoops.

The goats, however, were not well received by some local officials.

Mr. Spitznagel said: “The Brightmoor community believes in urban agriculture as a viable solution and they have the entrepreneurial energy that will survive ineffective bureaucratic rules.”

"Mark Spitznagel watched as some goats got to work in the Brightmoor neighborhood of Detroit."

"An “urban farming experiment” by the financier Mark Spitznagel uses goats to groom the city’s vacant spaces."

#toledo - #media - #politics - #moronism - #blog_jr

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