Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on November 5th, 2007 at 2:57 pm
Last week, the Oregonian published a multimedia web page full of bike-related information, a Google Map, stats and videos. When I pointed out the page, I shared my disappointment at the choice of, “Bike versus car” as the title of the story.
I find this term — which seems to be the phrase-of-choice whenever a bike safety story is in the news — to be unnecessarily divisive and not always descriptive of the real issues at hand.
After several commenters pointed out similar feelings (one of them called it “the epitome of sensationalism”) and some of them emailed the Oregonian to share their thoughts, online editor Mark Friesen wisely decided to change the title to “Bikes and Cars”.
Now, I’ve gotten word from several readers who’ve seen ads promoting a major, sweeps month story tonight (11/5) on KGW-TV with the tagline: “Who owns the road? Bikes versus Cars.”
One reader responded by sending this message to KGW this morning:
“I just saw an add on CNN for an upcoming story billed as “Who really owns the road? Bikes vs Cars” This title is needlessly divisive and only contributes to the feeling of animosity on our streets. While I’m happy to see KGW covering this issue, you would serve us all better by focusing on sharing the road and working together to make Portland’s streets safer, less stressful for all.”
I was interviewed for the story (which incidentally was planned long before our tragic October) and the reporter was smart, capable and genuinely concerned about the issues at hand. Based on what I’ve heard about the story, I have every reason to think it will be good.
Unfortunately, at the major media outlets, the headlines and promo pieces are done by someone completely separate from the reporter who did the original story.
If you’re around a TV tonight at 11:00, tune into KGW (channel 8) and check it out.
UPDATE: 11/5, 11:31pm – Here’s the the story: Safe Streets? Debate continues as cycling numbers hit record high
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