In the past few weeks, we have received many letters and online comments about the Dec. 5 cover story, “No Easy Answers: Lexington Avenue's Uncertain Future.” We welcome such feedback, as it is part of our mission to encourage community dialogue. And as journalists, we’re always striving to hone our craft, while reporting fairly and accurately what happens in Asheville and the surrounding area.
In our more than 20 years as a downtown business, we have published many stories about Lexington and chronicled its evolution into a thriving district. We tend to see these many articles as a whole and our coverage as an ongoing, larger story.
In the Dec. 5 piece, we examined, primarily, the northernmost block of Lexington Avenue, based on various tips we had received in the last few months. We did not report what couldn’t be corroborated, and we did report that Asheville Police Department stats show that the street, as a whole, doesn’t have a higher crime incidence than any other part of downtown. We also didn’t shy away from concerns about late-night safety on that section of Lexington.
However, we regret not making this article’s limited, single-block focus clear.
We also regret that, although more than a dozen people were interviewed for the story, we did not reach out for a broader sampling of business owners. Doing so could have improved the story and provided more context.
However, nothing racial was intended in the choice of cover images or interior photos. Gus Cutty’s mural at Static Age Records, depicting musician Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, shows one aspect of the lively energy and attitude on Lexington; that’s one reason we picked it for the cover image. An interior, late-night shot of people huddled in a doorway shows at least two white men, which may be hard to discern in print.
Moving forward, we aim to do better, and are grateful for the feedback that Lexington’s impassioned merchants and residents have given us. For those who remain dissatisfied with this particular article, we hope you’ll keep in mind that Mountain Xpress is deeply committed to our community. There will be many more stories and the conversation will continue.
— News Editor Margaret Williams
Publisher Jeff Fobes