I like to say that CityLife does not just report the news, it also makes the news. As an example, I use George Anthes’ statement that we need a City Architect, while I agree with him. But, I often say to George that we are not reporting a news item, we are trying to change the structure of the city administration. That is not reporting news, that is making the news. It is a very sensitive area. The Lowell Sun on Sunday, the twenty-second of October, did the same thing. There is no doubt that the Lowell Sun does this type of thing, headlines often are not what we would like to have them be, instead they are goals that the reporter tries to acheive. Someone at the newspaper makes a decision to headline a story and it is not worthy of a certain type of exposure. In that case, the news organization “makes the news,” and does not just report it.
In my opinion, that is what happened in the Sunday Sun on October 22, 2017. The Sun did put it on the front page, but saved the largest title for an innocuous story about whether or not students from the high school are attending after-school programs in the various programs that are available to them. The main headline in the Sun was pushing an aspect of support for the Cawley option. It read, “LHS Near Services, but Usage Not Great.” Then the article is about the number of students who do not go to after-school programs available to them. This is a direct swipe at a major point that the Downtown group makes, the swipe being that downtown is not necessarily used by a great many students from the high school.
In reality, it is probable that no students would take the time to go to those after-school programs if the high school was outside the perimeters of the downtown. It would just be too much trouble to go back downtown to attend a program offered after school hours. The Sun contradicts itself when it says “There appears to be at least dozens of students who walk after school to programs at places like the Lowell Community Health Center or the Boy’s and Girl’s Club of Greater Lowell.” The Sun then goes on to say that that is “a small number in relation to the school’s student body…but a significant number to the agencies that provide them services.”
You cannot have it both ways, Lowell Sun, dozens of students is a significant number. Even the Superintendent of the Lowell National Park is quoted as saying, “If you’re just across the street, it’s a quick transit.” Obviously Cawley would not be across the street. It would be about two miles away. That is a significant walk. Especially in bad weather.
As I said, a real tragic thing happened in Lowell that same edition, and it should have been the main story. Instead, the Sun made a main story out of “Easy downtown access, but survey indicates no clear flood of students.” Surveys are easy to make up, I use to audit and come to conclusions for Wang all of the time. I have completed hundreds of surveys. They are just pieces of paper that carry virtually no weight. In my opinion, the Lowell Sun wanted to find survey results that echoed the premise that students were not attending after-school programs at various provider’s locations.
So, they did. I could write a directly opposite survey result by talking to the students who attended these after-school programs. It would be a valid survey and I could conclude that many students visited the National Park or the Boys and Girls Club, or some other place. I could conclude that students were attending those after-school programs in droves. And they are, it just was not published in the Sun. Because, and this is just speculation, the Sun has come out for the Cawley option. They want to win and they will do what they can to do that. Isn’t politics fun?