Death. Violence. Living in fear.
Those are the perceptions some people say are coming out of Honesdale thanks to some recent television reporting.
This past weekend, an incident involving alcohol and domestic violence left a man dead and police say he was shot by his brother.
That is domestic violence at its worst.
But does that make Honesdale the next New Orleans?
And that's the point being made by Honesdale Mayor Ed Langendoerfer, who was visibly upset by a recent news piece on WBRE Television, which is headquartered in Wilkes-Barre.
In one segment, a person being interviewed didn't want his face shown and said, in so many words, that Honesdale was a dangerous place to live.
First, last week's incident happened in White Mills, not Honesdale. But that is beside the point.
It was a tragic incident which could happen in any town anywhere in the United States.
The point is Honesdale is a very safe place to live.
Certainly, it's not perfect, but where is?
The Honesdale Borough Police Department has shown it can handle itself rather well in recent months.
Sure, we don't want to have drugs in this area, but drugs are here and the police are watching. The fact there have been so many drug busts with large amounts of drugs goes to show that if you are dealing drugs in Honesdale, you are more than likely going to get caught.
There was also a recent incident in which a local bank was robbed. It didn't take that long for police to figure out the case and make an arrest.
Page 2 of 3 - That is good police work that keeps our citizens safe.
Where was that story on television?
Let's face it, area television stations are fighting it out for ratings. In some sense, we are all fighting for ratings. In our case it is readers.
Because television stations are looking for the sensational around every corner, when something happens, that is how it's going to be portrayed.
Have you seen them here for positive events which are happening? Maybe the upcoming Honesdale Clean & Green or the Victims Intervention Program's "Take Back the Night."
Nowhere to be found.
There is no doubt that bad things happen in small towns like Honesdale, just like they do everywhere.
But it's also true you can walk down the street at 3 a.m. and the chances of something happening are almost nil. Honesdale, and Wayne County in general, is a safe place to live. In fact, it's one of the driving reasons many people move to this area.
For someone to go on television and not have the guts to show his face while saying he fears for his safety is beyond comprehension.
All it does is play to the fears of people and gives the television folks some sensational story blown all out of proportion.
In the news business, one thing which must happen is qualifying statements made in stories. That means you must tell in the story who is saying certain statements.
On too many occasions, television reports are very vague and there is no qualifying what is said and who is saying those statements.
That is a "Journalism 101" fail.
We must make it clear here that if there are issues which arise, we are in no way afraid to take them on and do some digging. Our track record over the past year and a half proves that point.
Page 3 of 3 - But we also focus on the positives, from great outcomes by school students to local festivals and events which are attended by thousands of people.
Mayor Langendoerfer was right to come out and say something about the portrayal of Honesdale in the television reporting.
It was unfair and unjust.
The mayor is a lifelong resident of Honesdale and he knows that it's a safe place to live and a location where many people would envy having a home.
That includes people in Wilkes-Barre, for sure.