Oh, this town: What would you be without your bloggers and pols?
Earlier this week, D.C. Councilmember Brianne Nadeau convened a public safety meeting to address crime in Ward 1. At some point during the gathering, one of her constituents asked how he or she might stay informed about incidents in the area. The innocent question was answered with some media criticism from the councilmember, which in turn prompted local blogger Dan Silverman, aka Prince of Petworth, aka PoPville, to respond in a 450-plus word manifesto.
Nadeau told the constituent:
Regarding the blog, I just want to—I will say I will try to say this as objectively as possible—I think if you’re looking for reporting on crime in this area, Borderstan is your best bet, because they are actually reporting. The trouble with PoPville is that he’s not reporting; he’s simply posting things that come along. And unfortunately they’re not put into context where a request is asked. And yes, it is a criticism, but it is also a fact. So if you’re looking for actual coverage, I highly recommend Borderstan because they’re working very hard to stay on top of everything in this area specifically. This is where they write for. And they’re much more accurate than anyone else I’ve seen out there because they’re working so hard to get their brand out there. So I find that helpful.
Silverman published audio of the remark and shot back in a post of his own, calling Nadeau’s remarks “by far the best endorsement the site has ever received.” He went on to explain that PoPville isn’t meant to be Edward R. Murrow–level journalism or “crackerjack crime report[ing]”; instead, he hopes the blog serves as a “platform” for residents, adding that he regularly cites Metropolitan Police Department reports when writing posts.
“The important thing is that apparently the Council Member doesn’t want you to know what is really happening in your neighborhoods,” Silverman wrote. “I am not going to ignore the emails and tweets I receive after every shooting/shots fired or major crime that happens in Council Member Nadeau’s Ward. People want answers. They want leadership that listens to them.”
Nadeau’s office issued the following statement to City Desk in response to PoPville’s manifesto:
Councilmember Nadeau is deeply committed to ensuring her constituents have access to all the information they need about public safety and other issues in the ward. In fact, the recording referenced in a recent POPville post was taken at a public safety meeting she had convened for constituents to receive additional information from MPD. While she does not recall her exact choice of words, she was responding to a question about the best way to receive information about public safety. She referred the constituent first to the MPD Yahoo[!] group, then indicated that her personal preference for local news was Borderstan, given their approach to reporting the news. She also noted that while POPville is a forum that posts information, it does not do reporting. I should note that the Councilmember’s characterization of the blog is affirmed by its editor in today’s post, although she was not given the opportunity to comment.
At least one person was pleased by the back-and-forth between Nadeau and Silverman: Borderstan Editor Tim Regan. “I’m flattered Councilmember Nadeau had such kind words about Borderstan, and I’m glad she sees us as an accurate source for neighborhood news,” he writes in an email to City Desk. “I don’t know if I’d call myself a ‘crackerjack’ reporter, but we do try our best to make sure we’re fully informing our readers and it was great to get some recognition for that.”
Correction: This post incorrectly stated that Petworth is in Ward 1.
Photo by ep_jhu via Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0