Thursday, April 23, 2009

This is where news comes from

Ever wonder where 'news' comes from? Most people think that news organizations have reporters who are out on the streets, talking to people and gathering information, asking questions and conducting interviews, and then reporting the facts.

However, many times, the 'news' you see is nothing more than a press release that someone has sent out. While press releases are an effective method of notifying news organizations of what's going on, most agencies won't just print your release.

Well, here is The Blade story on the FEMA Flood Map public meeting I discussed last night on Eye On Toledo with Lucas County Engineer Keith Earley. Councilwoman Lindsay Webb will be my guest tonight to talk about Toledo issues with the new maps:

Article published April 23, 2009
FEMA to unveil floodplain documents
Point Place residents urged to attend forum


The Federal Emergency Management Agency will formally present the preliminary digital flood insurance rate maps during an open house Monday at Martin Luther King, Jr., Plaza.

The meeting will begin at 3:30 p.m. on the third-floor of the train station.

Toledo Councilman Lindsay Webb, who urged Point Place residents to attend, said approximately 1,700 homes are at issue - most of which are in the city's Point Place neighborhood. Last year, the city applied for a provisional accreditation of the Point Place Flood Control System, but the accreditation expires in January.

After that, the 1,700 homes will be included in the floodplain and required to carry flood insurance unless the city of Toledo can prove compliance, Ms. Webb said.

She said proving compliance within the time frame established by FEMA is almost impossible.

"The city is reviewing proposals to engage in an engineering study to find out what improvements need to be made to the dike, but this study will take time and any necessary improvements will require more time and more money," Ms. Webb said. "In these times, to require the city to engage in an expensive study and costly improvements on an aggressive timetable is egregious."

The preliminary floodplain maps are posted on the Lucas County Web site, co.lucas.oh.us.

Here is the press release from Councilwoman Lindsay Webb:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 21, 2009

Contact Info: Lindsay M. Webb, District 6,
Toledo City Councilwoman
Councilwoman Webb Encourages Citizens to Voice Their Concerns at FEMA Meeting

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will formally present the preliminary Digital Flood Insurance Rate Maps at an Open House on Monday April 27th, 2009, on the third floor of the AMTRAK Train Station, Martin Luther King Plaza, 650 Vance Street from 3:30 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. In addition to FEMA, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), along with City and County officials will present information and be available to answer questions in the open forum.

At issue, are approximately 1700 homes, most of which are located in Toledo’s Point Place neighborhood. Last year, the City of Toledo applied for a provisional accreditation of the Point Place Flood Control System, but this accreditation will expire in January 2010. After January 2010, these 1700 homes, previously protected by the levee system and as such, exempt from flood insurance, will be included in the Floodplain, and required to carry flood insurance, unless the City of Toledo can prove compliance.

According to Webb, proving compliance within the timeframe established by FEMA is nearly impossible. “The City is reviewing proposals to engage in an engineering study to find out what improvements need to be made to the dike, but this study will take time and any necessary improvements will require more time and more money.” Councilwoman Webb believes that FEMA’s timeframe is unacceptable. “In these times, to require the City to engage in an expensive study and costly improvements on an aggressive timetable is egregious,” says Webb.

“We need more time, as well as financial and technical aid from the federal government, not a fast track approach that encourages the inevitable inclusion in the floodplain,” says the Councilwoman. According to her, the additional requirement of flood insurance could seal the fate of the neighborhood already at the tipping point. “Adding insult to injury for the good Citizens of Point Place is the fact that the adjacent property owners were originally assessed for the installation of the Point Place Flood Control System by the Army Corp. of Engineers,” notes Webb.

Webb recommends any citizen with questions about the Floodplain maps attend the meeting. Those who live in Point Place are strongly encouraged to attend the meeting on Monday, April 27th, between 3:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. According to Webb, this is the only chance residents will have to address this federal agency. Toledo’s District 6 Councilwoman is clear, “if the requirement of flood insurance will adversely impact your family’s bottom line, or if you paid the assessment for the Dike the first time, or if you have a business interest in the neighborhood, or if you just love the community, make plans to come to the train station on the 27th.”

For more information on the preliminary floodplain maps, visits the Lucas County website (www.co.lucas.oh.us).

That The Blade copied the press release nearly word-for-word is a compliment to Webb. That they didn't bother to read it and then write their own story could be an indication of their lack of staffing (due to a lack of revenues) or to their own laziness in handling press releases.

The problem is that this happens more than you could ever imagine, which means there is no true 'reporting' when it comes to the 'news' you read.

2 comments:

Lisa Renee said...

One of the reasons I put press releases up in full, it's a great way to compare the media coverage, especially when they used direct quotes that a candidate or elected official has used in their media release.

:-)

Maggie Thurber said...

And when we post those press releases, we say so....

:)

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