The new media buzz-generator of the week – aside from blissed-out tweets from the Folk Fest – was everybodyinthiscityisarmed.com, a website launched by Mack Male (with help from Sally Poulsen, Jeff Samsonow and Adam Rozenhart – all of whom are friends of mine, for full disclosure’s sake).
The site, prompted by the coverage of the surprising number of homicides in Edmonton so far this year, serves three purposes, by my reckoning:
- It’s a reality check on several statements made by Bill Pitt, a criminologist at Grant MacEwan University.
- It’s an exhortation to local media to provide real context instead of dial-a-quote glibness and sensationalism in homicide stories.
- It uses some of the data at hand to raise some excellent questions that would be worth looking into.
I am most interested in that third objective, because, as I said in my comment on the site, I think there is real potential to get to the bottom of what’s going on and do something about it, if we can just get past the knee-jerk panic.
One more full disclosure moment: My father-in-law, Keith Spencer, used to be the go-to criminologist for Edmonton journalists. He is retired, but you can catch him now and then on Alberta Primetime. He is a sensible person. But I don’t think the problem would be solved if media were quoting him instead of Pitt. What we need here is data analysis, not talking heads.
You can read more about crime coverage in this city at Jeff and Sally’s site, theedmontonian.com.
For a midsummer week, it seems like an awful lot of noteworthy stuff has been published, so I’m heading straight into roundup mode:
– Wanye Gretz, the pseudonymous proprietor of OilersNation, departed from the usual hockey talk to write a stirring post about Sylvancroft, the mansion just off Stony Plain Road that has been bought by a developer and may be torn down, despite its historic significance as the home of H.M.E. Evans, who served as mayor of Edmonton in 1918.
Since I’ve already opened the full disclosure can of worms, I’m going to spill some more – my husband is a great-grandson of H.M.E. on his mother’s side. We know the house well; we also know the family turmoil that is partly responsible for bringing it to the brink (Paula Simons gives an overview here).
The whole situation is irredeemably sad. But it is heartening to see so many Edmontonians standing up to say they don’t want to lose this piece of history. For more, read Adam’s Unknown Studio post, and take a look at Raffaella Loro’s photos.
– Speaking of sad, I urge you to read Chris LaBossiere’s post about a tragedy in his family and the effect it had on him. I don’t want to give away anything more than that. Read it with a tissue in reach, especially if you have kids.
– OK, how about something happy? I don’t know if this qualifies, but I really enjoyed Brent Jans’s post on why he tends to prefer blogs by women. He also has extensive coverage of Animethon, last weekend’s convention on anime, manga and other Japanese pop culture.
– I also liked Jen Banks’s post on MomNation about hating her Tassimo. She raises some good questions about the ethical responsibilities of bloggers (and all writers, for that matter) who get free stuff.
– Another blog to watch is Rescuing the Frog, a look at energy, climate and the oilsands by economist Andrew Leach, who is an associate professor of business at the University of Alberta. His examination of what’s behind the EthicalOil.org campaign is fascinating, and I find he is a worthwhile source of sensible (there’s that word again) commentary on a complex issue. He’s also fun to follow on Twitter.
– Adam Wilson has a deal for you: A PDF of his latest chapbook, Romantic Avenues and Other Poems. It’s free, and I’m happy to disclose that I like both the book and Adam’s generous approach to his writing career.
Let me know what else I should be paying attention to, in the comments or on Twitter. I’m also on Google+, but I haven’t spend enough time figuring it out yet.
(Sally Poulsen designed the logo I swiped for the art on this post.)