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Media Coverage Batters Durham's Image

Posted January 17, 2007

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— A documentary film set to be released nationwide is delivering another blow to Durham's image.

"Welcome to Durham USA," which is scheduled for national release next Tuesday, focuses on gangs in the Bull City.

"What we tried to do was show the repercussions," said producer Chris Martin, who lives in Durham. "I don't see it being different than any other place. But ... bad is bad."

The movie comes on the heels of the Duke University lacrosse case, which initially raised cries of racism and elitism in Durham and has since created questions about the local prosecutor's conduct.

"The movie is about everything that goes on in America, probably in most cities in America," executive producer Mike Wilson said.

Compared with 29 cities of similar size and makeup, Durham's violent crime rate in 2005 was 25 percent below the average.

"The intention of this version is to be able to show the balance of what's taking place in Durham, the good and the bad" Martin said.

Reyn Bowman, president and chief executive of the Durham Convention and Visitors Bureau, said publicity that Durham receives often isn't balanced.

"It's the balance of the news that creates the image," Bowman said. "It's the fact that we're so quick to identify that (a) murder happened in Durham, but most of the media won't even recognize that (most of Research Triangle Park) is in Durham."

Durham's self-image is very positive, and so is the national image of Durham, Bowman said. But within a 100-mile radius of the city, the image is very negative, he said.

"It's all in how (the news) is covered," he said. "That imbalance is creating the problem."

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  • geowilrlst Jan 22, 2007

    Now Kill My Posts this time Mattthew !

  • geowilrlst Jan 22, 2007

    Durham has earned it's reputation as a city without morals !

  • geowilrlst Jan 22, 2007

    Only in Durham could Mike Nifong get relected and The black princes Jackie Flagstaf get elected after being fired for stealing !

  • yruatwit Jan 18, 2007

    Take Duke University out of the equation and Durham would be just another impoverished, uneducated, mill-hill mentality southern sewer.

  • inmyopinion3 Jan 18, 2007

    Durham is heavily populated with an above average amount of gangs, drug dealers, murders etc etc compared to other cities in the triangle area its not the media that is tarnishing Durham its the citys own residents! I wouldnt live in Durham for all the money in the owrld and I'm lucky enough not to have to visit it either! The only good thing about Durham is the road out of it!

  • hollywood Jan 18, 2007

    Just another reason why I have not or will never vist that city. I moved here from DC to get away from all that crime and drugs! Love my North Raleigh neighborhood!

  • Fence Straddler Jan 18, 2007

    The "Bull City" is what it's called! What do you expect from it's leaders? Stuborn educated people with their own interests in mind. As far as RTP is concerned: Yes they need their own identity from the one shaded by the "Bull City" (Durham).

  • ncsufamily24 Jan 17, 2007

    So Durham's image is a result of unbalanced media coverage? And
    it's creating a problem?

    That fine city has it's problems for sure, and for any Durham leader to suggest the media is responsible for Durham's image problem is ridiculous.

    Maybe the good folks in Durham need to make some leadership changes. Try it....you may like it.

  • raswph Jan 17, 2007

    I was in Durham, on an emergency situation, pulled into a gas station at 3:30 in the morning trying to find the Duke University hospital, guess what, I found to nice guys that told me how to get there and where not to go......yes, they looked like they could of been gang type people, I didn't approach them any differently, except with respect and in return I got the utmost respect, you probably thinking you are lucky, no God is on my side, HE knew my situation, therefore they were very respectful...I am a Duke believer in the lacross crap, but that doesn't make everyone in the Durham area bad people, believe and trust in others they'll know the difference....I love young people...no I am no exception to the rule and I know they could of easily over powered me and hurt me....But God knows my plan and I try to always follow HIS

  • superman Jan 17, 2007

    Hey be cool Durham City Council members-- This wont hurt your image at all. It is already rock bottom in the horse barn- Dont think anything can hurt you now. Nothing left -- just keep shoveling that manure. It is already head high-- gotta work fast guys