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Previously in this space, a certain blogger hammered Washington Post Metro reporter Paul Schwartzman for overplaying the “renaissance” of various neighborhoods across the city. The post cited where Schwartzman appeared to be writing essentially the same script.
First, a qualifier, and then a few points in defense of Schwartzman.
Qualifier: I hold no brief for the guy. As a media reporter, I have called him about his work, only to get the response, Hey, the story speaks for itself. I tried to explain what a lousy and hypocritical stance that is for a JOURNALIST to take, but to no avail.
Even so, in the interest of fairness, I want to make a few points here:
- The fact that there are lots of stories out there where he may have said the same thing isn’t an indictment of Schwartzman. It’s a reflection of the reality that, indeed, many neighborhoods across this city have undergone a rebirth in the past decade or so. Sure, you may not like what the “renaissance” has done to the neighborhoods, but whether you use that term, or “revitalization” or “gentrification” or whatever, you gotta describe what’s happening.
- The fact that there’s a long record out there speaks well for Schwartzman. Say what you want about the guy, but he produces. Though I can’t access Nexis at the moment, I’d bet that he stacks up well against others at the Post in terms of productivity.
- Schwartzman writes for a daily paper. It’s news when a Giant opens in Ward 8, or a Target opens in Ward 1. Would you prefer that he couch these events as evidence of the neighborhoods’ decline?
- Look at today’s paper. While others in the media, including this blog, are writing about the same-old, same-old, Schwartzman comes up with a pretty eye-opening piece on the impact of the new development on traffic. The story gets at divisions within the neighborhood and the city’s seat-of-the-pants approach to dealing with development. A very good piece.