Week 5: Article Response – Detroit Community-Engaged Research Program

Week 5: Article Response

For this week’s blog post, I will be responding to the contents of The Detroit News’ article ‘Gilbert, Quicken Loans entwined in Detroit blight’ http://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/special-reports/2015/07/01/quicken-loans-blight-dilemma/29537285/

The aforementioned article takes a semi-investigative approach into Quicken Loans’ involvement in establishing the current blight-ridden status of many Detroit neighborhoods. The implicit position taken by the article seems to be one of heavy scrutiny and doubt in Quicken Loans’ responses to various claims (and a federal lawsuit) levied against the company. These claims stem from the general belief Quicken lent ‘bad’ loans that led to the inevitability of foreclosures and the subsequent lack of care for over 65,000 homes.

Although the article focused on the question of “who is to blame,” I want to focus on something else. Now that the dust has (largely) settled with Detroit’s bankruptcy proceedings and the city is focusing on the future and progress, I feel as though looking back in an effort to apply blame to a certain company isn’t going to benefit the residents of Detroit nor those invested in the community, rather it will simply attract more negative press regarding Detroit. If this article were written with the intent to urge Quicken and the like to use their influence to help the city solve it’s blight problem, I would support the effort, however this is clearly not the case as the article opens with the following statement:

“Dan Gilbert has taken a leading role in the city’s fight against blight. The Detroit business mogul co-chaired a taskforce convened by the Obama administration to tackle the problem and helped fund a survey last year that found nearly 40,000 structures need to be torn down.”

By opening with information regarding the how the company is working to aid the city in developing plans and gathering necessary data to tackle its blight issue, the author mitigates the utility of the casted doubts that follow. While the research The Detroit News is conducting is valuable for avoiding former mistakes in the future, this article is not. The information on which this article is reporting could have just as easily been utilized in reporting on what city business leaders and government officials are doing or should be doing to steer clear of enabling the blight in Detroit’s neighborhoods to develop. I am not necessarily saying that this information should have been spun to formulate a semi-factual article about the resilience of the city, taking the good from the bad, or something of that nature, however I do feel strongly that this is an iteration of superficial and sensationalized news.

For this article to truly serve a larger purpose, which it seems to be attempting, it should focus on what the Detroit residents, city officials, and others have tried so hard to focus on and that is what’s to come.

1 thought on “Week 5: Article Response”

  1. I also wrote about this article for my blog! I appreciate your different take on the article. Your focus on moving forward is really important. Although I focused my blog on the persona of Dan Gilbert, I think we feel the same away about looking at what can be done in the future to help Detroiters, rather than remain stuck in the problems of the past.

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