Blogs | Ethan Shorey

Oh no you didn't

One of my annoyances as a reporter is when the subject of a story stands in a public meeting and takes a shot at my integrity or accuses me of being shady.

At Wednesday's meeting of the Pawtucket City Council, a representative for Apex, Operations Manager Joshua Glass, got up to defend the company over the shabby look of its property on Main Street (Here's my story on why council members were so upset with the lack of upkeep).

Glass had taken offense to the line in my story saying that I couldn't reach Apex owner Andrew Gates for comment. He seemed to be making the point that the owners were willing to talk openly about their plans for maintaining the property, but somehow I had kept them from doing so. Standing at the lectern, Glass told the council that "the reporter" called on Monday afternoon, that Apex representative Beth Pella called back around 6 p.m., and that "the reporter" never called back.

That wasn't true. I called Pella's direct line shortly after 10 a.m. Tuesday morning and got no reply at that time or the rest of the day. I still hadn't received a call as of Wednesday's noon council meeting, yet here was her colleague acting like they were just waiting at the phone for my call.

I approached Glass after the meeting and told him I didn't appreciate his false statement. I pulled out my cell phone and showed him the call I'd made to Pella's direct line that lasted for 45 seconds, plenty of time to leave a message. Glass was apologetic. He said he was only going by what Pella had told him Wednesday morning, that I hadn't called her back.

The whole thing reminded me a little of the time Pawtucket school officials pulled surveillance video of me so they could prove that I showed up two minutes later than I claimed after I complained about being locked out of a public meeting. In the end, they wasted time proving nothing and looked a little silly in the process. City officials had been asking for years what Apex owners were planning to do to improve their property. Now it was suddenly my fault that they couldn't get their message out.

I understand that members of the press can make for easy punching bags, but the point here is that if folks expended half as much effort addressing the issues they're being called out on as they do making excuses and pointing fingers at the people who buy ink by the barrel, they would probably be in a better position for it.

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