10 Clichés of Reporting about Newark

By Rich Blackmon

  1. Crisis exploitation: “Here’s a crying child drinking out of a lead pipe, but we’re never doing a follow-up story on their removal.”
  2. The utopian: “This single corporate development is the city’s savior.”
  3. The self-fulfilling prophecy: “Newark is bad if one bad thing happens anywhere in its borders.”
  4. The exception: “Desirable parts of the city that defy stereotypes are not ‘really’ Newark.”
  5. Tricky headline semantics: “If it’s a positive story, something great is happening in New Jersey, but if it’s negative, it becomes a story about Newark.”
  6. Framing pessimism as concern: “Don’t get excited for record low crime and widespread development because it means you hate poor people.”
  7. The uncritical White flight: “Growing up, I never had any reason to go to Newark. There’s no redemption narrative coming, I’m still very comfortable revealing this is the way I see human beings that don’t come from my socio-economic (and racial) background.”
  8. The no self-awareness: “I’m not sure Newark can have a Whole Foods. This is Reg Chapman, reporting live from my Northern Harlem Heights apartment on 249th Street in Manhattan.”
  9. The partisan: “Forget the legacies of factory jobs leaving America, white flight, and the War on Drugs. Democrats are lazy minority communists that are too stupid to be Republicans.”
  10. The clueless White liberal: “I just watched 25 Black and Latino residents walk out of their $3,000 a month luxury apartments, but I’m still going to ask when gentrification will come to Newark.”

Rich Blackmon is an award-winning slam poet, satirist, and Black elitist.

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