Thursday, December 01, 2011

News media construction of the North Nashville brand

Following a police scanner or keeping an eye on Nashville crime Twitter feeds tell me that crime occurs in every part of Nashville. It may be an anecdotal observation, but over the Thanksgiving holidays there were regular reports of crime in east, south and even west parts of Nashville and much less in the central and northern parts of the city. Nonetheless, crime often gets disproportionally attributed to our side of town.

As alarming as the recent Jefferson Street area shootings during TSU Homecoming were, they were no more numerous than crime I've heard of in other parts of Nashville. And yet, the news media has a reputation here in our part of town for generally linking North Nashville with crime, including crime that does not happen here.

That reputation is sustained in the 2010 update of the North Nashville Community Plan, which is based on community feedback. According to "Chapter V - Implementation" (p. 261):

North Nashville stakeholders began to think about the speciļ¬c actions that could be taken to improve the condition of residential neighborhoods. Of the 50 ideas from the implementation discussion, the following ... were determined to be the most important priorities ....

  • Improve the perception of North Nashville neighborhoods by working with local news stations on neighborhood geography to accurately report the location of crime incidents. Currently, crime that occurs in other parts of Nashville is reported as being in “North Nashville”, increasing the perception that North Nashville is dangerous.

Old prejudices die hard, but media prejudice against North Nashville needs to die soon.

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