Monday, June 6, 2011

Around noon today, a story started popping up in my News Feed on Facebook as several friends were sharing the link to the article posted today to, titled "What Charlotte learned 'when the world flipped'." I'm always intrigued to read these articles or watch broadcasts by national news outlets about the city in which I live. Charlotte has been in the national spotlight a lot over the last few years, from the growth of banking and NASCAR, to North Carolina becoming a political swing state, to our growing population, to the meltdown of the financial industry, to the announcement of the city being awarded the 2012 Democratic National Convention, and so on.

Some national media outlets do a good job of depicting life in Charlotte, while others make it obvious they just parachuted in, talked to a few people, and didn't get a keen understanding of the lay of the land. For this CNN article and writer Thom Patterson, I would give a grade of B. The profile on Charlotte is part of CNN's summer-long Defining America project, in which the multi-platform news network "will be traveling the country with the CNN Express to explore the stories behind the data and demographics."

Here are a few notable things I feel the article on Charlotte did well:
  • Described what the financial industry means to Charlotte and how the loss of thousands of jobs have impacted the city and people.
  • Drew distinctions between the different neighborhoods: Uptown, NoDa, South End, Plaza Midwood, and even the 'burbs of Union County.
  • Interviewed key people: local businessmen, journalists, civic leaders, and everyday patrons and neighbors.
  • Highlighted the growing energy sector and how Duke Energy is emerging.

And here are things I feel the article could've done better:
  • The video on NoDa, which was placed at the top of the page, should've explored the neighborhood more.
  • More attention should've been paid to the city's growing diversity. It was mentioned in the paragraph about population growth, but wasn't elaborated.
  • Education wasn't covered at all. How can you chronicle a city and not talk about its public schools or higher education offerings?
  • Ballantyne should've at least been mentioned--with all the money and growth over there.

Those are just a few of my thoughts. The article is a good read whether you live in the Charlotte area or not. There are also a few videos included and there's one in particular I wanted to highlight. In the left column of the page is a thumbnail for a video segment titled "Chef turns profits into food for poor." It's about chef/restaurant owner Jim Noble and the great work he's doing for the community with his not-for profit restaurant, The King's Kitchen. I've embedded the video below.


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