Local musician Andrew Fletcher weighs in on Lexington controversy

Local musician and blogger Andrew Fletcher has written a piece on the controversy over Xpress’ Dec. 5 cover story and the ensuing protest from some Lexington Avenue business owners:

First and foremost, a newspaper has to be honest to its readers, otherwise readers will feel cheated and look else where, which ultimately hurts the newspaper’s bottom line and diminishes the sense of commu­nity that a quality newspaper provides. A reader who is less likely to trust the editorial content is also less likely to trust the advertisements in such a newspaper. For an extreme example: Ask your self how much you trust the advertisements in the tabloids in the check out line. About as much as their exposé story of ‘Bat Boy’? A newspaper with integrity is a better place for consumers to make choices about where to spend their dollars. Pulling advertising because of a ‘negative’ story hurts the advertiser and the con­sumer more than than the newspaper.

Can an article on increased crime lead to less crime in the future? Because of the respect that the Xpress has in our community and it’s continued ability to start constructive dialog (such as this one), I think so. A negative story can increase and maintain the integrity of a newspaper, lead ing to positive change for the entire community. The Xpress has that legitimacy because it doesn’t look the other way when con­fronted with an uglier face of reality than we would all like to see. I put a high value on that.

The December 5 article says that crime rates are relatively sta ble. If that’s the case, the article loses a lot of punch. Let’s look at a scenario. In response to a handful of high profile crimes and anecdotal evidence (blood on the street, fights, name less transients) a few business owners cry wolf. Police add more resources and officers, get more arrests and write more citations which shows up as an increase in reported crime. If law enforcement works, this should occur right before the actual level of criminal activ­ity goes down due to the added law enforcement…


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