Thursday, December 10, 2009

A Nice Piece of Work, Mr. Casey

Dan Casey gets it. His column in Roanoke's local daily newspaper this morning on the economic fallout of the Roanoke Redevelopment and Housing Authority's lawsuit against property owners near the Carilion development on Riverside Drive puts the round peg into the round hole.

His piece is informative, insightful, balanced, nuanced and fair, unlike so much of the sensationalized and lopsided coverage we've seen to this point. Casey is a columnist and a column contains opinion, but in this case(y)--a hotbutton issue, if there ever was one--he has the wisdom to tell you what's going on and let you use your own value system and the facts at hand to judge it.

Over the years, it has become apparent to me that like any institution where people work in close proximity, a newsroom has its own subtle pressures and expectations. I've seen feeding frenzies over certain stories where truth dares not trample upon fact. Those pressures and expectations are difficult to resist--it's so much easier to just go along--and I respect those who do.

(A reminder: Carilion public relations director Eric Earnhart speaks today at the Public Relations Society of America/Blue Ridge Chapter's luncheon at the Hotel Roanoke and Conference Center. It'll be interesting to get his take on the last two years of waking up to headlines and stories he believes to be untrue, incomplete or distorted. Starts at noon and costs about 30 bucks.)

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