There was a minor kerfuffle over a story written by reporter Laura Dimon about Flint, Michigan that received a lot of criticism from the residents of Flint. While the coverage focused on Laura Dimon’s father, Jamie Dimon, head of JPMorgan, this is the part that confused me (boldface mine):
Dimon, 26, didn’t immediately have a comment. But she answered most of the Twitter reaction with grace. She said she was considering a follow-up piece on “Flint Fights Back.” She expressed regret that she hadn’t visited.
“Hi there. I’m curious. Did you travel to Flint for your story?” asked Gabe Gutierrez, an NBC reporter in Atlanta.
“I wish I could have but I did not,” Dimon replied. “Next time I have the means, Flint … here I come!”
Gutierrez, who lived in Flint for three years working for the ABC station there, said Flint was “a much better place” than Dimon’s story reflected.
Look, as a blogger, I run my mouth off at the drop of a hat (figuratively speaking). But if you’re doing reporting about a specific place–not analysis, but describing the place (“Flint now drowns in the hell that has become of much of America’s Rust Belt”)–don’t you have to visit? Time was, ‘drop-in reporting’, in which the reporter visits briefly and then leaves, was scorned, but now that isn’t even being done.
I don’t really blame Dimon, as she’s trying to get her work published, but PolicyMic’s editors should have done better.