I’ve always thought that good journalism should provoke emotions. That’s why I took it as something of a compliment when former Mitchell city councilman Terry Timmins, in an op-ed piece published today, said this in reference to my July 25 story about the legacy of the Vision 2000 community planning initiative:
"I laughed even before I read the article."
Timmins didn’t mean that as a compliment, though. He meant it as a criticism. He went on to write "I just knew that the article was going to give too much credit to the Vision 2000 committee for some of the projects completed during the last 10 years."
I think Timmins was a little unfair in his critique of my story.
Timmins wrote, "I feel that the news article gave too much credit to the Vision 2000 Committee for the Missouri River drinking water pipeline (B-Y Water Project)."
Here’s what my story actually said about the pipeline: "In the early 1990s, Vision 2000 committee members dreamed of many projects that ultimately came to fruition. Among those ideas was a Missouri River drinking-water pipeline …"
Notice the phrase that I used: "that ultimately came to fruition." That’s hardly heaping credit on Vision 2000 for making the pipeline happen. Instead, it was a deliberate attempt on my part to give no credit nor take credit away. It’s language that essentially says, "They talked about a pipeline, and later a pipeline was built." It doesn’t say Vision 2000 was the driving force behind it.
Later in the op-ed, Timmins wrote, "I also feel the news article gave the Vision 2000 Committee too much credit for the Mitchell Aquatic Center."
My story said the same thing about the pool as it did about the pipeline: "In the early 1990s, Vision 2000 committee members dreamed of many projects that ultimately came to fruition. Among those ideas was … replacement of an outdoor swimming pool …"
Again, no credit is given or taken away. The story simply says that Vision 2000 members talked about replacing the city’s outdoor pool, and then the story says that the project was later carried out.
People other than those associated with Vision 2000 may deserve the credit for making projects like the pool and the pipeline a reality. I don’t know who deserves the credit, or in what share. All I know is that some of the ideas discussed by Vision 2000 members were turned into successful projects.
I also know that some Vision 2000 ideas were never carried out, as my July 25 story mentioned. Because I wrote about both the successful and unsuccessful ideas, I thought my story was just as much a critique of Vision 2000 as it was a tribute. In other words, I thought it was pretty fair to both sides.
I’ll be interested to hear your thoughts.