Durham May Spend to Spin a Positive Image
Posted May 21, 1999 7:00 a.m. EDT
DURHAM — There have been three murders this year in Durham; this time last year, there were already 11. Durham's murder rate is down, but officials say the good news does not travel as quickly as the bad.
Durham's proposed budget dedicates millions to public safety, schools and roads. You expect that. But there is one line item with an interesting goal: increase positive news coverage. Officials want to spin more good news out of Durham than bad.
What comes to mind when you think of Durham? Durham city leaders say they are tired of their image as the crime capitol of the Triangle.
"All too often the media are interested in the bad news and we just need to increase our resources to reach all facets of city government to get the good news out," says Durham City Councilman Howard Clement.
Clement backs a plan to increase Durham's public information staff and increase positive local news stories by 20 percent.
The ACC baseball tournament at theDurham Bulls Athletic Parkis a positive event. WRAL asked people there what they think about using their tax dollars to increase positive news coverage.
"I think Durham needs anything that will help us improve," says resident Gwen Dickey. "Durham needs more advertisement. Let them know what's going on in our city. We have a great city."
Some, like resident Bruce Temple, say the positive news spinners will have a tough job.
"I'm a retired police officer and Durham's got a lot of crime," Temple says. "I think they're trying to do something about it with the new chief. She's doing a real good job, but Durham still has too much crime."
While councilman Clement backs the "positive news" proposal, most other council members are just getting a look at it.