I read your article “New Kid on the Block” [Newsfront, Nov.
26] and am troubled by the fact that the tone of the article
suggests a controversy between the old and new organization
leaders but provides absolutely no evidence of such a controversy.
You refer to a brief comment (“so they are going to push out
the old neighborhood association”) made by Mr. Mair to suggest
some controversy. I hardly view that comment, without more,
as justifying the tone of the article.
You thereafter put words in the mouth of Mr. Williams when
you parenthetically insert Mr. Mair’s name into a comment
made by Mr. Williams about “work done in the past.” If Mr.
Williams did not refer to Mr. Mair when making the comment
I find it ill advised for you to inject the name in as an
effort to support the general controversial tone of the article.
Finally you say that Mr. Mair contradicted himself when he
was asked about the “new organization” and said “the more
neighborhood associations the better, diversity is a good
thing . . .” To juxtapose that comment with Mr. Mair’s initial
and very brief reaction to the news of the formation of a
new organization and call it a contradiction is a stretch.
I do not live in Arbor Hill and do not know any of the gentlemen
referred to in the article. But, I think it is unfair to them
and the communities they serve to attempt to create a division
without any evidentiary support. If there are supporting facts
then report them. If there are none then resist the unfounded
Travis Durfee’s reply:
The tone of the article resulted from my perception of the
events as they were presented to me after speaking with a
number of parties involved. Yacob Williams had not spoken
to Aaron Mair about his desire to form a new neighborhood
association, despite the fact that Mair’s group, Arbor Hill
Concerned Citizens Neighborhood Association, had served as
the umbrella neighborhood group for more than 20 years. Williams
wasn’t looking to form another intra- neighborhood association
in Arbor Hill, like the Ten Broeck Triangle Preservation League
or Sheridan Hollow Neighborhood Association, but an all-encompassing
Arbor Hill Neighborhood Association. Mair, at first, expressed
dissatisfaction with this announcement, and since Williams
later told me had no intention of speaking with or joining
Mair in his efforts, I wondered, will theirs be a combative
relationship? Why wouldn’t these two groups work together
for the betterment of their community? Neighborhood residents
shared these concerns, namely Barbara Smith, who was quoted
as such in the story.
After interviewing both Mair and Williams, each said that
they were not looking to step on the other’s toes and wanted
for Arbor Hill’s betterment following different paths, sentiments
I tried to convey in my story.
As for your other concern, it is a common practice in journalistic
writing to insert parenthesis and a more precise word or phrase
into a quote when the speaker’s original wording is ambiguous.
In this case, Mr. Williams said, “I don’t want to be critical
of his work,” referring to Mair’s. I inserted “Mair’s” merely
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