Letter writer: Xpress coverage priorities need reboot

Graphic by Lori Deaton

I am wondering about your response to the person who asked you why there was no reporting on the police shooting of Jerry Williams [“Where Is Justice4Jerry Coverage?” July 20, Xpress]. You stated that the Mountain Xpress did not normally write about crime issues. Wow, a newspaper that does not report about crime!

I believe you are mistaken if you think that all the citizens of Asheville want to know about is the latest new brewery or restaurant. We are so much better than that.

And I am wondering, if it had been, say, a white tourist whose arm had been blown off by the Asheville police, would you have reported that? I’m guessing that you would have.

Asheville has too much of a legacy of racism. Please Mountain Xpress, help this mostly white community face up to the neglect of our oppressed neighbors. It is the only way that we can begin reparations.

— Betsy Kendrick

Editor’s note: The adage, “If it bleeds, it leads” may apply to some media outlets’ approach to the news. However, Xpress’ news team focuses on the broader issues we face as a community. We are covering the community response to the July 2 shooting death of Jerry Williams by Asheville Police Department Sgt. Tyler Radford. You can read some of our coverage here. In addition, this week’s issue includes a commentary by Xpress reporter Dan Hesse about his experience covering the recent Justice4Jerry protest at the Asheville Police Department. A person’s race or whether that person lives here or is a tourist makes no difference in how we cover the community’s response to such an event. We will always strive to cover important local movements and activism. We are currently working on other stories that relate to these events and the ripple effects they are having on the community. Our goal is to offer evenhanded, well-researched stories that promote civic dialogue and help us grow as a community.


Thanks for reading through to the end…

We share your inclination to get the whole story. For the past 25 years, Xpress has been committed to in-depth, balanced reporting about the greater Asheville area. We want everyone to have access to our stories. That’s a big part of why we've never charged for the paper or put up a paywall.

We’re pretty sure that you know journalism faces big challenges these days. Advertising no longer pays the whole cost. Media outlets around the country are asking their readers to chip in. Xpress needs help, too. We hope you’ll consider signing up to be a member of Xpress. For as little as $5 a month — the cost of a craft beer or kombucha — you can help keep local journalism strong. It only takes a moment.

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15 thoughts on “Letter writer: Xpress coverage priorities need reboot

  1. hauntedheadnc

    You focus on broad issues facing the community?

    Not really, and lately, you’re almost as bad as the Citizen-Times when it comes to avoiding any stories that the tourists would think were scarcely genteel. I mean, in the online lineup today there’s a story on cheese plates. No one gives a rat’s ass about cheese plates because for one, almost no one living here and making a local wage could afford one and two, even if they could, none of their four roommates are going to want to hear about it because they’re all too busy figuring out which medicine to do without this month so the rent can be paid. Meanwhile, drug use is off the charts, syphilis in Asheville is so bad that the CDC is on the case, and there’s plenty of other misery and chaos that nobody is addressing.

    And what do we get in response? Cheese plates.

      • hauntedheadnc

        Awesome. Now try tackling the rise in syphilis and other std’s, the trend toward chemsex that’s helping that trend along, and then maybe look into why so many local EMT’s are killing themselves, including the one who decided to go with the dramatc approach and blow his head off in the Ingles deli.

        Maybe, if some Pulitzers are forthcoming, we could then celebrate with a local cheese plate. Try the one at The Blackbird in particular, although if you want the truth, I’m more inclined to go there for the torte.

        • Able Allen

          Everybody likes a good torte.
          Thanks for your thoughts on story ideas. We’ll take them under consideration.

    • HRH

      hauntedheadnc…so WHY have you not been raising hell about the TAXPAYER THEFT stolen by your elected City Council and Maoyor and GIVEN to the already financed federal housing creating more ghettoes? ??? These people are nothing BUT elected CRIMINAL THIEVES.

      • hauntedheadnc

        I didn’t RAISE hell, MR. Caudle, BECAUSE it’s ACTUALLY a GOOD idea TO redevelop PUBLIC housing COMPLEXES like LEE Walker HEIGHTS. As THAT and OTHER complexes CURRENTLY stand, THEY’RE designed TO create AND concentrate POVERTY because THEY’RE physically CUT off FROM the REST of THE city. THEY basically PERFORM the FUNCTION of SERVING as HOLDING tanks FOR poverty. HOWEVER, if SUCH a COMPLEX is REDEVELOPED in SUCH a WAY as TO mix USES and INCOMES, that BREAKS up THE poverty and ALSO puts POOR residents WITHIN easier ACCESS of NEW job OPPORTUNITIES at THE commercial VENTURES now MIXED into THE new DEVELOPMENT.

        Or, IN other WORDS, there’s NO complaint FROM me BECAUSE redeveloping PUBLIC housing COMPLEXES in THIS manner HAS already PROVEN extremely EFFECTIVE in OTHER major CITIES and I support THE redevelopment OF Asheville’s COMPLEXES completely. IN fact, I’VE been ADVOCATING that THE city DO the VERY thing THEY’RE planning AT Lee WALKER Heights FOR years.

        • HRH

          you are 180* wrong…only democrackkks think that way…you think and talk like gordon smith who is a very
          poor excuse for an elected official here…he’s a big part of the poverty control in the city, like democrackkks do…keep the poor people segregated. WHY do democrackkks like to dictate over the poor so much? oh yeah, votes from the
          dependent class so hell bent on being controlled by you people!

          • Hauntedheadnc

            So let me see if I have it straight… You’re telling me that an approach to redeveloping publickkk housing, with an eckkksplicitly-stated goal of breackkking up ckkkoncentrations of poverty by mickkksing inckkkomes, and also by putting eckkkonomickkk opportunity within easy reach of low-inckkkome residents, is not going to worckkk? And you’re saying this even though the eckkksact same approach has worckkked well in other cities with bigger ghettoes worse poverty and ckkkrime than Asheville has?

            Ckkkan you please eckkksplain why in hell I would believe you over empirickkkal evidence that says you’re full of ckkkrap?

  2. The Real World

    The letter writer doesn’t seem to understand that a private business may serve whatever market they like.

    If a chicken restaurant doesn’t want to also serve hamburgers, they don’t have to. Ask Chik Fil A.
    If a drug store doesn’t want to sell tobacco, they don’t have to. Ask CVS.

    MountainX can cover whatever topics they feel makes sense for their business model. If a reader wants some other, they can look elsewhere.

    • hauntedheadnc

      Being so willing to settle for mediocrity is probably the biggest reason that Asheville has the problems it does.

      • HRH

        yes, mediocrity and the ability to live free off the taxpayers most all the time are BIG problems here! why do we continue
        to allow so many transients with NO money into the city to house and feed? One way bus tickets outta here work great!
        Sorry this is a city in trouble NOT the salvation army for the homeless and indigent.

  3. Able Allen

    We welcome both criticism and story ideas. I appreciate your concern for the state of journalism. But please avoid squabbling and insulting one another in the comment boards.
    Thank you.

  4. The Real World

    Well look there, a relevant string of dialogue has been removed from this thread that I feel sure readers would want to consider. Folks, censorship is alive and kicking in the city of open-mindedness, tolerance, kumbaya, etc. — except, actually not.

    But, here’s the cool thing, I now grasp what hauntedheadnc is talking about. Yes indeed, there is plenty not discussed or acknowledged in our fair city. I have to take back my comment above (I did kindly ask it to be removed but that request was not granted). I second the existential sigh.

  5. The Real World

    Oh and, off topic but, the AVL Tourists killed it tonight — great game!

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