The local media (much like the national media) pissed me off again. This time, I had to write to them, see below for the email. Dammit, I swear, sometimes you can't get these folks to see postive change even if it runs up and gives them a big fat french kiss. Makes me wanna holla - throw up both my hands!
Petersburg resident Gloria Brown recently sent a note to me regarding the coverage on June 5th; I commend her on her immediate response to this poor coverage and her commitment to bring it to the attention of other like-minded citizens. Like Gloria, I am a concerned citizen working and residing in the City of Petersburg; my son will attend Peabody Middle School in the 08/09 school year. I was very encouraged upon seeing the early SOL test scores during this week's school board meeting. For example, the Algebra I test scores improved in the double digits (as indicated by preliminary results) - this is nothing short of phenomenal. I was encouraged by the atmosphere of excitement and expectation among all stakeholders; it is clear to me and many others that this city is experiencing a bona-fide renaissance. In almost every area – from education to economic development and housing to health services, Petersburg is redefining itself. The city is not where it wants to be, but together stakeholders have created a practical road map to reach the final destination, and we are well on our way.
Needless to say, I was most discouraged upon seeing the poorly-worded media coverage from Wednesday’s school board meeting. Gentlemen, you had an opportunity to report positive news on the school system, but instead, you choose to give a markedly negative story. You had a direct request from the Superintendent to make note of the City Council’s increase in the school budget, but you focused on the RFP (stale news as it is). You had a ready-made feel good piece on how a once struggling public school system is slowly but surely making its way out of crisis; you had a prime time piece, complete with the distribution of roses and blow-pops to the school board and audience for crying out loud. And yet, you selected to accentuate the negative. It always amazes me, how the local media rarely ‘misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity’ when it comes to positive press for Petersburg.I implore you, please, give the teachers, students, administrators, parents, and concerned citizens of this city the same respect that you seem to be so willing to give other localities. There are students who are doing wonderful things in this school system. There are teachers who are going above and beyond the call of duty to ensure that students receive a quality education. There are administrators who are meeting a mountain of separate (and often conflicting) objectives in order to build a ‘world class school system'. And there are parents and concerned citizens who attend long meetings and sift through mind-numbing lines of budget items and policy proposals on a regular bases, in order to stay informed and engaged. Even though the test results showing MARKED improvement from this time last year are only preliminary, one would think that you would be EXCITED to report this change in direction, in order to encourage even more positive strides within the school system.
It is worth noting that when the City of Petersburg does well, the entire region stands to gain from its success. We are all inter-dependent, and we all should acknowledge that we share a stake in each others success. Please, take a moment to consider this fact, and perhaps you will consider a more positive angle when covering Petersburg news, particularly when there are so many positive angles available for your use."