I wasn't going to bother posting anything about today's installment of "Our Hidden Communities," until I saw the self-congratulatory rail across the bottom of pages E4 and E5 of the Forum section -- headshots
and short biographies of the eight journalists who put the package together.
This is good journalism, but it's not great. The Enquirer's
packaging would like you to think it's great. The influx of immigrants from Central and South America has going on for a long time, certainly more than a decade, but the Enquirer acts like it is only through their commitment of journalism that you, the reader, is learning about this. The story combines several themes that could be good stories on their own -- the impact of immigration on crime, or the impact of the raid on illegal workers at Koch Foods, the impact on schools, the immigration stances of local elected officials. For reasons barely evident to someone reading the story, the Enquirer combined these themes into one story, giving each of those themes short shrift. Once again, the Enquirer opts for the strategy that's a mile wide and an inch deep.
There's much about this presentation I don't understand. Why was the story limited to Butler County? Surely these effects are also being seen in Hamilton County and Boone County. Past Enquirer stories have mentioned extensions of Mexican organized crime. Why wasn't that covered in today's stories
? I don't understand the online presentation. I can't find the printed version of the story online, only the Flash audio and video
. I can't find the story connected from the Local page or the Forum page. If anyone finds it, please email me.
For all of 2007 I only found 11 stories in the Enquirer that dealt with the region's Hispanic population -- stories that didn't deal with specific crimes, food or festivals. It's less when you take out the two stories about the Butler County sheriff sending Mexico a bill for the cost of drug busts, and less still when you take out the stories about WLW's
Do those eight journalists deserve a medal for this? I'm sure the Enquirer meant well, but this is a token effort to cover all the ground it has neglected to cover in the past. A real newspaper would have someone covering Hispanic issues full time, not writing stories once in a while. The Enqurier
needs to do much better, but they thought this was so good they had to publish the names, photos and biographies of the eight people who put this together. This shows you how low the bar is for "great" journalism at the Enquirer.