Could PolicyMic’s Recent Flint-Bashing Article Actually Be a Good Thing?
Flint residents are used to reading about how terrible their city is in the national media. This time Flint is the focus of an article found at PolicyMic.com titled "This is America's Most Apocalyptic, Violent City — And You’ve Probably Never Heard Of It." Of course it's not great for tourism in Flint, but could all this negative press be a blessing in disguise?
The article, which you can read by clicking here, spends a long time fleshing out Flint's worst statistics, like:
- Flint has gone from 80,000 General Motors jobs to 4,000
- An average of 5 people move out of Flint daily
- 1/3 of the city is abandoned
- The poverty rate is 40%
It also mentions the alarmingly high violent crime rate from 2010-2012, uses various quotes from articles by Forbes Magazine (who we've taken to task over their Flint-hatred before), 24/7 Wall St, Business Insider, The New York Times and leans heavily on photos and quotes from Gordon Young's book, 'Teardown: Memoir of a Vanishing City.'
You might be thinking, "Great. This is just what we need. Another outsider, who knows nothing about our city, is painting us as America's hellhole once again!" While this is, sort of, the case here -- Laura Dimon's article does something that most doesn't... It ends on a positive note. Granted, it is short-sided to spend 940 words bashing Flint and then use the last 154 to show the "bright side," but it's a start.
After reading, roughly, 5 of the who-knows-how-many negative national stories about Flint this year, I have to wonder if the bad press may be a good thing. Maybe people are reading these, maybe important people, and thinking, "That place could really use some help." It's never an ideal scenario when you're the focal point of someone's sympathy, but what if a Mark Zuckerberg or Timothy Cook (Apple CEO) read this article and decides to bring their next business venture or factory here to add jobs and give us a second chance. What if a group of politicians read it and decided to start lobbying to secure funds for heavier police presence or blight removal (yes, I know that's a sore subject right now)... There are countless what ifs.
The unfortunate reality is that most people read these and think, "I'm never going there!" I'm okay with that, but I'm increasingly not okay with all these journalists who have never even been in Genesee County shaping the way outsiders see us. There's a reason that you get that astonished, slightly terrified look when you tell people you're from Flint, Michigan... and these journalists are that reason. Well, that and all the crime.