Sunday, February 08, 2009

forum on the media and Youngstown's image this tuesday

so in prep for the event, was asked to give some thoughts on the matter.

assignment youngstown: tuesday, february 10th 7:30pm in YSU's Kilcawley Center.

a panel discussion on the 2008 election reporting on the working class and Youngstown.

featuring the following guests:
- Jonathan Kaufman, The Wall Street Journal
- Connie Schultz, The Plain Dealer
- Marilyn Geewax, National Public Radio

co-sponsored by the Center for Working Class Studies, the YSU journalism department, and the Youngstown Vindicator.

free parking at the deck at Lincoln and 5th avenue. free to attend.

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Here is one response. The audience is every person who reads this post across the world.

Youngstown is your canvas, a laboratory of ideas.

One of the various themes emerging from stories by the national media in recent years is that Youngstown is a place willing to respect, and even accept innovative concepts. Perhaps the best example is the city's mention in the annual Year in Ideas edition of the New York Times Magazine, as Youngstown's urban planning “experiment has not gone unnoticed.”

While good press alone does not impact the quality of life for those in the Mahoning Valley, it definitely sparks the interest of others to examine life here. Almost weekly, I receive emails from people unknown to me who wish to become more engaged in this community, or hope to learn more about the people living here. In fact, in the next two years an interesting series of books, graduate school theses, and media projects will be released – all examining Youngstown.

Youngstown needs to be a place where authors, laborers, students, visitors, and janitors all feel welcome. A big tent, with plenty of space for those who just want to exist, and those who want to excel. So this place can become your place, and your canvas to create whatever you want.

A critical reality of Youngstown, unlike other portrayals in the national media, is that this region is not a monolith. Our hispters often fix their own automobiles, our steelworkers often participate in the arts, our drag queens are often the smartest people in the room, and our friends are way more extraordinary than what is seen at first glance.

And unless the media captures this diversity, they are missing the story.

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