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October 14, 2005

NY Times Picks Up on 'Camp Amtrak' Story

Coming late to the game, the reputed "paper of record" finally took notice of the horrific holding pen in New Orleans known to its jailers as "Camp Amtrak," just a day after our story ran. Based on the date in a photo caption, they visited sometime last week, but evidently they sat on the story until we broke it. It certainly wasn't because reporter Christopher Drew was busy gathering details, since very few are included, almost exclusively from officials.

Sometimes we get letters from people asking what makes us different from the New York Times. Sometimes people ask why they should donate to The NewStandard when the Times and other papers are free online and will always be around. I can't think of a starker example of the difference, especially since otherwise we will not always be around.

This piece is a classic example of a news outfit with unlimited resources doing a shoddy job and taking a strict pro-authority, anti-accused perspective. Where are the views and voices of those the system victimizes? Where are the critics? Where are the descriptions of unfairness and brutality that Jessica Azulay injected throghout her reporting? 

All go almost completely ignored in this story meant to garner sympathy and support for the New Orleans cops and court system, which, the writer assures us in narrative form, are vital to the city's ability to function the way it is supposed to: in support of tourists and the good residents.

Law enforcement officials say they are moving as quickly as possible, because they recognize that keeping order in the streets is as critical to bringing residents and tourists back to New Orleans as restoring electricity and cleaning toxic residues.

See, they "recognize" it. They don't say it, they recognize it. Meaning the reporter agrees with the problem and the solution.

Nothing could make me prouder than to force the Times to acknowledge a subject, except maybe to force them to do it right. As much as they don't want to hear from their readers that they learned of something this significant from a rinky-dink nonprofit website, they don't yet seem to realize their readers might recognize a qualitative difference in the reportage.

Maybe someday we'll have enough visibility to challenge not just their failure to report but their elitist approach to journalism all together.


msszczep: NY Times Picks Up on 'Camp Amtrak' Story

Amen, brother.

And hopefully, that day will come sooner than later...

VivekApte: NY Times Picks Up on 'Camp Amtrak' Story

I'm sure the NYT's bean counters love the paper's coverage, though, because i can't imagine stories about brutality and oppression being much good for lingerie sales. (Tsk! so much negativity!)

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The NewStandard ceased publishing on April 27, 2007.