Atlantic City is dead!
At least, that’s what the outside headlines keep saying.
Forget the traffic and the crowds. Forget the wait to get a table at your favorite restaurant or the full parking lots.
That’s just what you see with your eyes, locals. These outside media outlets know. So don’t tell them, they’re professionals. (Where’s that damn sarcasm font when you need it?)
The latest obituary making the rounds on social media is by Sarah Jacobs for Business Insider.
But instead of writing of Atlantic City’s impending death, Ms. Jacobs shows yet again what’s killing journalism.
Forget that you have a “business” story where the only study cited is an oceanic survey warning the Hard Rock of the potential for a great flood. (Get working on that ark, Mayor Guardian!)
The only numbers are old unemployment statistics and the breaking news that five Atlantic City casinos have closed.
(Silly, Sarah, that’s so 2016.)
HAVE YOU SEEN THIS WOMAN? Sarah Jacobs writes about the ghost town that is Atlantic City. But did she even come here? Check out her twitter here: @SarahJake
No mention of reduced taxes or Stockton University — arguably the region’s most successful “business” — investing in the city’s future and looking to make it a college town.
No talk of the mismanagement that caused the rough times. Of course, especially no mention of the millions and millions and millions sucked out of the area to other, much more northern parts of the state during the city’s booming years.
I mean, why muddle up a good death notice with all that reporting nonsense?
In the news business, we call it “parachute journalism.” It gives the picture of a reporter dropping into a big news situation and covering just that, with no context or true understanding of the situation.
It’s NEWS! The true who, what, when, where, why and how of it all doesn’t matter. This is about telling a story that can have a doom and gloom headline that will get shared. (Forget the bass, Meghan Trainor. It’s all about the clicks!)
But in many of these “Atlantic City is dead” stories, it seems these “reporters” don’t even drop in. They read like they were written inside an office where there’s no cell phone service and research is limited to Googling.
In her Business Insider piece, Ms. Jacobs offers a mere cut and paste of little negative little tidbits like she just finished a case of Snapple and decided to compile the “real facts” she found inside the caps.
Listen, we’re from New Jersey. South Jersey at that. We aren’t into sugar-coating. We know the troubles in our backyard. No one is saying everything is rainbows and lollipops.
But what a tourist-driven area that has had outsiders happily playing a death march for years doesn’t need are “business reporters” talking about ghost towns that they couldn’t even dare visit to see whether there were people here or not.
If outside media is going to keep pulling the city down while it’s trying to get back up, at least come to the city to do it.
We’ll even save a seat at the bar for you — if we can find one.