Homicides are up by more than 25 percent this year, with lurid and surprising murders across the city. But how to write that story without suggesting that it’s bigger news when white people are killed in Wards 3 or 6 than when the same crime happens in, say, Ward 8? Judging by some edits made today, the Washington Post is still figuring that question out.
Last night, the paper ran a story from crime reporter Peter Hermann lead big with the news of violence happening in Northwest. “Not Even NW is Immune as Crime Surges Across D.C.” moaned the headline.
Further down, Hermann chronicled a rise in gunshots in places like Petworth, Park View, Logan Circle, and Columbia Heights, neighborhoods that are described as “key to the city’s growth and revitalization.”
This afternoon, though, the Post backed off the article’s focus on gentrifying neighborhoods. A copy of the story saved on NewsDiffs, a website that shows edits to news articles, shows a series of changes to the story.
The focus on Northwest in the headline is out. Now the headline reads “Crime Surges Across the District.” Columbia Heights et. al are no longer “key.” Instead, they’re “targeted” for growth.
There are other changes, too. A developer involved in condos and a yoga studio is no longer described as “primede to take advantage of gentrification.” Gone too is the developer’s quote that he didn’t expect Park View to be like Georgetown.
Hermann—the Post crime reporter you may remember as the chosen vessel for a leak flattering the Baltimore Police Department after Freddie Gray‘s death—didn’t respond to my request for comment. Post spokeswoman Kris Coratti didn’t explain what’s behind the changes, either.
This isn’t the Post‘s first run-in with a race kerfuffle in its headline. Last year, the paper changed a headline calling white Ward 2 councilmember and then-mayoral hopeful Jack Evans as “white” after criticism.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery