Sara the Danish Reporter

Sara the Danish Reporter

My very good friend Sara came to visit from New York last month. Sara is an award-winning Danish journalist whose extensive reporting on New York’s Stop-and-Frisk policies has been published in a number of outlets, including The Atlantic and AJA. Her two-week visit was part work, part play.

I was reminded of her visit and this photo a few days ago, when I posted a photo on social media of Alfie and me on a morning walk standing in front of a large, tagged, abandoned building – just a few minutes’ walk away from home. The post provoked mixed reactions. Specifically, one of my Detroit acquaintances was angry for the ruin porn representation of the city I was blasting to the outside world.

Avoiding to mindlessly fall into cliche is one of the main jobs a journalist has, I believe. In this city, which is going through such an extreme time, you have to constantly watch yourself. Sometimes reality challenges stereotypes, sometimes a snapshot of reality will confirm them. To the extent that it is possible, the job is to question and document, never to twist or spin.

“The more I spend time here, the more I feel like it’s so complex,” Sara confided in me towards the end of her trip.

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One thought on “Sara the Danish Reporter

  1. It is important to be aware of the very real possibility of gratuitously showing “blight porn” but I don’t think you are guilty of anything. To ignore those very real faces of the city would be a form of denial, there is nothing wrong with representing Detroit’s graffiti, blight, and overall struggle as part of a bigger picture. If all you’ve got to show is ruin and despair, I’d have a problem, but there is room for the grit in a well-rounded portrayal of the city.

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