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i wanted to share some thoughts with you regarding your latest cover story, titled “Still Life, With Vomit.” Quite frankly, I feel this story was done in very poor taste and does a disservice not only to the neighborhood but to your publication as well. As a news source, particularly as a free publication, I can appreciate your need to highlight controversy, edgy stories, and those concerning aspects of the city that remain unspoken; they help distinguish your publication and raise notoriety (whether good or bad). However, I believe that your Adams Morgan story, including the detailed, dreary sketches, approaches the realm of pure trash (of course, not referring to the obvious talents of your artist).
Part of the media’s job is to draw attention to problem areas and to facilitate change for the better. I can imagine that the City Paper has done this in the past and may do so in the future. However, with this power to illuminate as a catalyst for change is the ability to demonize and destroy. Whether deliberate or not, your most recent story only does the latter.
The Adams Morgan area has received its fair share of negative publicity in recent months, and, perhaps, for good reason. Stories about occasional late-night violence have helped increase police awareness and security patrols, and have strengthened the neighborhood’s coalition, bringing promising prospects for the neighborhood’s future. Your story is not informative and barely entertaining, and its only penchant for journalistic detail is evidenced by a description of a vomit-covered cellular telephone. Such a crass article that subjectively targets a few episodes—and projects them as the status quo—only reverses the efforts of many to help improve an evolving neighborhood dynamic.
While I understand it is your job to further popularize the City Paper, I ask that you attempt to exercise taste in the future; I think you will find it benefits both your paper and the well-being of our city. Thank you for your time.
American University Park