EDITORíS DESK: Bancroft Park a tough issue
Ah, the life of a news writer. A picture here and an interview there, and everybody knows writing is easy (especially since the invention
of electric keyboards).
It's a grand illusion, and you know what, it's actually even true once in a while. But then you run across a story like the tug-of-war over Bancroft Park, and suddenly the job doesn't seem quite so la-de-da. It's one thing to have two sides to a story; it's another thing to have a prism. There's only one way to go about it, and that's to slog around and talk to different people, then try to write the thing in a way that represents the essence of each entity's point of view, yet doesn't read like a government document. Adding to the fun is that you may have acres of notes, but in the end you only have (to continue the metaphor) a garden patch's worth of space to fit it all into.
Anyway, that was my quest this issue, to try to present that story right, because the people who live with the situation clearly have strong feelings about it, and it's not going away.
Someone asked me why I was doing the story at all. After all, open war has not broken out. City Parks has brokered a compromise and seems to think it's working. For an answer, I suppose I could fall back on the old standby of the public's right to know. But all too often that's newspaper talk for wanting to dig without conscience into other people's business. What the Bancroft situation feels like is a volcano that may not be erupting, but it sure has the potential to do so. And when/if it does, at least now I/we will be able to understand it a little better. Clouding the future are court rulings that seem to be making retail sales easier for people in booths and harder for those in buildings. Do we want things to be like that? A thought for another day.