Elisabeth Gevelber, owner of Simply Charming gift boutique on Lee Road has something to say about the way certain local media have covered news coming out of Cleveland Heights lately.
In the spirit of blogging, you’re encouraged to read the entire post on her own blog here. We’re not trying to steal her traffic. But you can read it all here, too, where she gave us permission to post it.
By Elisabeth Gevelber
Greetings from my little corner of the universe, at Simply Charming gift boutique in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. A corner which is receiving some undue and unpleasant media attention.
Now we all know that everyone has an opinion, and everyone is entitled to that opinion.
But in my mind, a reporter ought to be reporting facts, getting information and comparisons from other areas, and not adding a spin on situations for the sake of dramatization and ‘clicks’ on their articles which in turn makes their companies revenue.
Now I am certainly not a political person, nor an activist. But for the past several months, the media reports on the Cedar-Lee District in Cleveland Heights have been negative, dramatic and apt to promote fear, and I am fed up. Our district sounds like an unsafe, soon to be blighted neighborhood.
Yes, there have been two very sad incidents in recent months, but what gets overlooked, is that they were perpetrated by current or past employees of those establishments, not random acts of murder and arson, And what about the amazing outpouring of support, both financial and emotional, for the employees and family rendered stunned and grief stricken? Not so much reporting on that either.
Just a lot of reporting on the murder and arson, leading those outside the neighborhood to believe the area is unsafe.
And wow – 2 businesses have closed this month, with a third on its way out. Yeah, because that doesn’t happen anywhere else, right?
Could it perhaps be because of a. the fear the media has put in the minds of folks outside this area who think that Cedar-Lee is spiraling out of control or b. because perhaps the business owners just may not have been making good business decisions? (I’m not saying that’s true, because I certainly don’t know, but maybe as journalists, that information ought to have been obtained).
And sure, business on the street has been down in many cases, but have the journalists thought to inquire in other areas of the city to find out if that’s also the case elsewhere? Or is it more enticing to just say that business is down, and let the reader assume it’s because of a few incidents in the area?
And even today, yet another report popped up about a business closing on the street. And to add insult to injury, the business owner made (or was at least quoted in the article as saying) so many negative remarks about the street and why her business is shutting its doors.
I am really sad right now. The merchants on this street are there to provide goods and services to their neighbors, who love to shop local, thank you very much. We seem to be finding ourselves on this slippery slope of what I believe is fear-mongering by the media. By that I mean that if what gets reported is doom and gloom and desperation, then that’s exactly what will happen to this vibrant neighborhood. And how terribly sad that would be. I can promise you that none of us [merchants] have pots of gold to back us up when times are bad. We struggle to stay relevant and meaningful to the consumer without a safety net if business declines.
How about reporting on the wonderful events just held here like the Heights Music Hop and the Candy Crawl? Hmmm? Where many hundreds of people came together to enjoy themselves. At night even. With children. And where nothing at all negative happened. Nothing. They were both fun events.
Now I can only speak for myself, but my customers, bless them, have not only continued to support Simply Charming, they have been telling their friends to shop here too. And no one has even had to hire a body guard to escort them here. (okay, that’s a bit snarky, but if you know me, I really am showing a lot of restraint here!)
Are there problems in our city? Yes. Are there problems in the other neighboring cities? Yes. That’s the world we live in now and if anyone thinks that it’s all sunshine and roses anywhere else, then they really haven’t been paying attention.
I am proud to have my store on Lee Road and to be part of a neighborhood which has a great variety of eateries, boutiques, salons, yoga, theater and services. And where our customers pride themselves on supporting the little guy. Because I can promise you that we care very much for those customers and our neighbors. And we hope to see you and all of your friends very soon.