Monday, August 06, 2012


UPDATE: WAMU has updated the article so that all (except one) reference to "Anacostia" have been replaced with "Southeast." Not really specific in my book but an improvement none the less. I appreciate them taking the time to make the change. :) 

There are days that I wish my "Anacostia" Google alert took a vacation. This was one of those days.

In a nutshell, this article about Anacostia wasn't about Anacostia. Like my earlier post regarding River East outreach sometimes I wonder if there were more staff reporters who lived east of the river would these kind of mistakes be less likely to happen? I love my reporter buddies  but they have a responsibility to get it right, especially for a community that is already suffering from a perception issue.

If those reporting the news can't get the geography right what can we expect from the people who are reading their words?  What are we telling teaching people? Mistakes do happen and it is not the end of the world but I do feel like every time these inaccurate headlines are posted (and almost alway in relation to something negative) my neighbors and I have to work that much harder to reeducate people about the basics of life (and geography) east of the river.

Consider this another intervention:
  1. Anacostia is a small neighborhood in Ward 8
  2. Everything east of the river is not Anacostia
  3. Penn Branch, Fort Dupont Park, and Fort Davis Park are all  located in Ward 7
  4. Commander Robert Contee is from the Metropolitan Police Department 6th District which services Ward 7

Normally WAMU is pretty on the ball when it comes to accurate headlines so I am going to assume this was probably a reporter who wasn't familiar with east of the river (or who read this wiki page). Some may say we take thing neighborhood thing too seriously but if we aren't paying attention, who will?


Anacostia Neighborhoods See Dramatic Spike In Crime
By: Nilanjana Gupta // August 5, 2012 
A dramatic increase in crime in one section of Anacostia has residents there worried and police taking note. 
As Barbara Morgan from the Dupont Park Civic Association turns the pages of a recent crime report, she shakes her head. "What we have are stolen autos, and things being taken out of autos." 
Over the past 12 months, crimes have been skyrocketing in the area compared to the same period the year before.  This is a neighborhood where cab drivers warn people about even getting out of the car, where property crimes have spiked by 47 percent and violent crimes have increased by 65 percent. And it's not just Dupont Park, but also the surrounding Penn Branch and Fort Davis Park neighborhoods, according to data from the Metropolitan Police Department as of August 1st, 2012. 
Morgan says one possible reason is the economy. "You have a lot of people around that are not working," she says. "Ward 7 and 8 have the highest unemployment in the city."
But it's not as though the area has never been safe. Commander Robert Contee, with the D.C. Police, says crime was steadily decreasing in the area for about five years until it spiked sharply in February and March.

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Anonymous said...

Are you hoping that by making a semantic point about the geography of the neighborhoods that people will overlook the crime statistics?

StringsAttached said...

Well, it seems your comments worked and the story was updated. I live in Randle Heights but usually just say Anacostia b/c of course no body knows where the heck Randle Heights is. I'm going to take the opportunity to start educating folk! You're right, everything EOTR is NOT Anacostia!

The Advoc8te said...


Since when is an article about one thing (a few neighborhoods in Ward 7) but headlined another thing (the Anacostia neighborhood in Ward 8) "semantics."

I am always amazed at the justification (often from people who don't even live here) of lumping everything East of the River under one (inaccurate) banner. This is how "East of the River" and "Anacostia" became synamous with "the other side of the tracks."

The article was about crime statistics in 3 neighborhoods in Ward 7. Everyone quoted in the article was from Ward 7. The police commander who was quoted was from a different police district than that of Ancostia or Ward 8.

In short, the article had nothing to do with Anacostia or Ward 8 which is why WAMU saw fit to update it so it would be a little bit more factual (although to be honest in my opinion "Southeast" isn't a whole lot better).

Imagine reading an article about Chinatown crime statistics where everyone in the article (Including the police) where from that Ward and police district. Now imagine that article was attributed to Georgetown or the "neighborhoods of Georgetown."

I have a feeling the people in that community would have a hard time "overlooking" that either.

Unless of course we should expect a different standard for things east of the river? I mean, it's all the same right? (sarcasm btw)

Maceo said...

Keep them honest Nikki. This is one of my biggest peaves with the local media and many people too. All folks have to do is look at a map. It amazes me how lazy and ignorant these reporters are.

The Advoc8te said...

"Newbie" Anonymous:

By this point I thought you would have realized I am NEVER going to post your comments when you violate the comment policy.

I'm not going to approve comments that include hate speech and/or personal attacks against a group of people. It brings nothing (and I mean absolutely nothing) to the conversation and it's counter productive. I don't do counter productive.

As it says in the comment policy: "if you can't articulate your point without violating the above then this is not the place for you."

Despite your faithful reading of the blog (and in that I am flattered) I just don't think this is the place for you.

You seem to have a lot of hate and disdain in your heart which I am just going to assume is just an expression of your fear and uncertainty. I am not going to take it personally since you always post under an "Anonymous" heading you must not be comfortable putting a face to your rants. That is totally your choice but my choice is not to spread the hate.

You can keep submitting comments but I am going to keep deleting them until you can follow the policy.

Until then, this "newbie" wishes you the best. :)

Marisa said...

Thanks Nikki for rectifying the story. I heard it on my way to work and it was already corrected and said SE but that still seemed a little vague. When I tell people I live in Anacostia it is always time to bring out the "teacher" voice and give a little geography speech on Anacostia!

@dcjams said...

Eye roll. One guess that "Anonymous" is actually the WAMU reporter.

Believe me, "Anonymous," if you lived over here you would understand our frustrations. Each neighborhood EOTR is entitled to its own (correct) identity. In WASPy terms, it's like if you lived in Georgetown and someone said you lived in Arlington (gasp). Haha