Journalism in Asheville North Carolina could, at many times, be very biased. When an insider or outsider is looking for information; they do not want to listen to reporters only tooting the horn of businesses that advertise with their publication or their friendly contacts. I believe this issue is being dealt with in the Mommy Blogging world as well. Some of these famous bloggers were being paid to put their approval on certain items that they did not necessarily believe in or even use. The outcome… hundreds and thousands of “followers” followed their advice and purchased the product. Everyone makes some money so it is right, Right?!
So called journalists many times do the same thing. Even though we hope that journalism carries a non-partial attitude when it comes to community, networking and sharing; writers who have a certain “control” when it comes to media, use this avenue many times to limit the messages of others and exclude. While some scream “community” to simply gain fans – many in the community remain excluded.
Even on your local Twitter scene. I would be a networked hireling if all I read and retweeted was what my fellow reporter friends posted. Some individuals are just as closed. They retweet any good thing or absurdity that their clique posts, and pass over a lot of great info that others may contribute for fear of losing control, seeming like they are a traitor, or to hang onto a false superiority. Weakness.
So is it a cult or is it a community when it comes to the distribution of information? The deprogramming of a open-minded yet closed community must happen in order to unify. Some say “We are the best source” or “We have been here the longest”; but does that eradicate others from contributing information and having a voice? NO! Is community journalism just made up of who you accept as part of YOUR community? Or better yet… is it made up of just your staff, advertisers, and the extreme brown nosers?
Western North Carolina kinda always had a sort of “Good Old Boy” mentality where you scratch our back and we scratch yours. It may be passing on in other negative ways than previously viewed, and a little worse now in this struggling economy. But when this seeps into a community and limits thinking and participation among everyone as a whole, it is not good. Who wants a bunch of robots controlled by a false empire built on their way of thinking and their prejudices and preferences.
The Asheville Citizen Times is working on a community blog information network. AskAsheville is supportive of this work. Why not? If someone wants to improve in certain areas, why would you be against it? Why would Asheville as a whole not want to rise up, offer ideas, and support this publication? Why would we degrade and attack our local news, WLOS News 13, because they are “not as good” as some of the big city stations that we are used to? So what!?! If I were in charge of the television station, I would love to network with furniture stores and clothing shops in the Asheville area, and have them furnish the newsroom and refresh the wardrobes monthly. And I have dozens of more ideas just like you may have too. But I am not in charge and this is simply a suggestion. They do not “have to” use my idea and I do not hate them if they don’t. This is where feedback, and companies paying attention to that feedback, comes in handy. As a business, we should always be able to ask “What are we missing”, “How can we improve” and “How can we blend with our community?” I have noticed skeptical comments and criticism coming from those whose “control” and influence may be affected. Of course, the lack of judgement and decency by the critics due to partiality blinding their eyes causes a vibe of division among a growing community that has so much potential. Asheville… sometimes I feel as if we are killing our own. Is AVL not our common ground? We are meant to be a little more open than this!
Instead of the live and let live mindset, it is live and lie in wait for anyone who gets in OUR way to die. And when they seem to be dying, we will even wish them the best and claim to be supportive. What Vultures! Asheville needs to open up just a little more to prevent being trapped by these people attempting to put us in THEIR tiny little box.
Asheville is a community. It consists of people you like and people you may claim to hate. It has people who you think are weird, and others who are sure you are the weirdo. It has people that agree with you and folks that always seem to disagree. We have people who believe in many types of religions, and some who do not have any faith at all. There are many races and nationalities in the area, and people who have moved to the Asheville area from all over the World. When they come; I rather have them bow to a great thriving community and an awesome quality of life, and not be segregated by a divided community with improper motives and attitudes. The media has a big part in leveling this out and we hope that all learn how to be fair to our community and to everyone involved. We have the ability to bring the people together or to force them to take sides to stabilize our insecurities. Let’s build Asheville and WNC together!