Last week, I attend a conference hosted by the University of Oregon Journalism Department. The topic was engagement in journalism, and it brought together educators and reporters from all over the country trying new ways to tell stories and connect communities.
A familiar theme was one of “extraction”, and how journalists can do more to serve their communities, rather than simply “extracting” stories from them.
One of the most powerful presentations was on study of how the media covered the 2015 mass shooting at a community college in Roseburg, Oregon. Reporters pounced on the small town, filling up voicemail inboxes, hounding residents with questions, and even breaking the news to parents about the death of their child… all in an attempt to get the story, and get it first.
On a much smaller scale, the same dynamic happens with citywide media. Reporters jump into an issue, and with tight deadlines and little time to educate themselves. Then they tell our stories that have the power to skew the conversation and ruin reputations.
I am incredibly proud of the work Lents resident Barbara Bader did on her story “Drama and resurrection of an iconic Lents landmark”, about the journeys of the New Copper Penny sign. The research was detailed, and also she took good care in acknowledging her role and interest in the story she was writing about.
We sorted of expected a backlash, but the story and the facts it presented have seemed to quiet the rancorous debate.
That’s always been one of my major goals for Village Portland: to be somewhat of a referee for these neighborhood conflicts (and cheerleader for getting involved). Nobody gets involved to fight with their neighbors, but this level of organizing seems especially ripe for conflict. Partially, I believe, because there’s rare independent accountability.
The NCP sign is still in storage, but it has found a home at The Eagle Eye Tavern. So even though we would have liked to have seen the Lents Neighborhood Association be more open and transparent about their relationship with the sign, we are glad the story had a happy ending.
It still doesn’t change the fact that the Willamette Week got it wrong when they wrote that the Tzantarmas family gave the NCP sign to the “I Love Lents” Facebook page. Nobody is angry or offended, and we all know journalism is a tough gig— even more so when you’re honestly trying to tell peoples’ stories fairly.
Yes, it’s been three years since the story was published, but the mistake has been ammo in the controversy around the issue and we want WW to acknowledge that they got it wrong.
We’re pretty sure giant glowing Abe Lincoln would want it that way.
FRIDAY, JUNE 21ST
Live music @ Cartlandia (event):
“Cody Weathers & The Men Your Mama Warned You About headline an evening of soulful, powerful voices and top-flight original music, featuring Rainezra, Jason Henderson, and Justin Gardner. Food from Cartlandia is welcome inside. Music starts early and runs until the pumpkin hour.”
Blue Bar @ Cartlandia, 8145 SE 82nd Ave * 8 pm – midnight
SATURDAY, JUNE 22ND
Chicken swan song:
“The Violin Chicken has been performing around SE Portland and FoPo for several years now bringing joy and amusement and happiness to all. She is now moving out of state and is on her farewell tour. The Violin Chicken will grace Cartlandia with one of her final farewell performances.”
Cartlandia, 8145 SE 82nd Ave * 11:11 am – 1:11 pm
Snack tour by bike (event):
Montavilla City Park, NE 82nd Ave & NE Glisan St * noon – 3 pm
Taste of Parkrose (event):
“The Taste of Parkrose is a day-long community festival in East Portland hosted by Historic Parkrose and Parkrose Hardware.”
There’s a fun run, food and beer tastings, live music, on-site tattooing, and circus performers.
Rossi Farms, 3839 Northeast 122nd Ave* 10 am – 4 pm
SUNDAY, JUNE 23RD
Farmers market (event):
“Lents International Farmers Market (LIFM) is the only one in Portland with an intentional international focus. LIFM provides fresh, affordable, and culturally appropriate produce to the diverse community of Lents neighbors. Founded in 2006 by a community volunteers and then run by Zenger Farm, it is an important sales outlet for immigrant and new farmers, and new small food business owners too.”
SE 92nd Ave and Reedway St * 9 am – 2 pm