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Journalists Covering RNC not reporting on Cleveland Issues

David Muir with ABC News doing an interview during the RNC. (Darrielle Snipes/ideastream)

15,000 credentialed journalists hit the streets of Cleveland covering the Republican National Convention in Cleveland this week.

They’ve been broadcasting to cities all around the world about the political drama but are they talking about the real issues plaguing the city?

ideastream's Darrielle Snipes takes a look.


At media row just across from Quicken Loans Arena...journalist are talking about the RNC in CLE.

Bobby Patton, a promotions Assistant with WHUR in DC is staying in at an Air BnB in Richmond Heights just east of the city. He says his only chance to see Cleveland outside of downtown is while urbering back and forth.

“Cleveland it is an interesting city,” said Patton. “It has a great downtown but once you get from downtown you can see some areas that are in need of help. The houses that are abandoned.  And a couple blocks later there is new development.”

But that part of story, about the boom and bust cycle in the RNC host city, isn’t being reported on the airwaves says Patton.

“We are focused on the event and are giving our listeners what is going on with these politicians so they can be more informed when they cast their vote versus coming to visit Cleveland,”  he said.  

 Patton's station isn't the only one mostly focused on the convention and demonstrations.

Blogger Rich Rubion from the Boston area realizes  “the truth of the matter is most journalists, when they come to a city they parachute in.  They are in the nice areas. They are there for three or four days  and parachute out. They don't see the rest of the city. They stay within five or ten miles and it is very hard for people because they don't think of going around and exploring the lesser economic areas.” 

Radio journalist Fergus Nicoll reports for the UK program Business Matters. He is one of the few journalists covering economic disparities in Cleveland.

“Of course we are covering the convention so it handy for us when you've two days in fact theme on the part of the republicans about business,” he said. “And that has helped us a lot because you have the politicians talking about it economy. So what we are trying to figure out whether this city represents what they are talking about , whether Cleveland is typical of American town.”

Jeff Mapes reports on politics for Oregon Public Broadcast. This is his second time in Cleveland and he sees some improvements but says a lot of work still needs to be done. 

“Cleveland you have to understand was on the ropes in the national imagination, Detroit like, so the signs you are seeing for urban renaissance are encouraging but to say they are backed all the way obviously is not the case at all,” said Mapes.

The BBC’s Nicoll and his crew have seen what Mapes is talking about. They left downtown for the Cleveland’s health corridor and then on to East Cleveland.

He's interviewed Mount Olivet Baptist Church Pastor Jawanz Colvin and City Councilman Zak Reed...to get a better take on the city. He says listeners who tune into the program Business Matters are interested in the issues effecting Cleveland.

“A lot of what we are reporting we find mirror of what is going on in other cities and countries so I think people empathize with that,” Nicoll said.  

Nicoll believes you can't really understand the national election politics unfolding in Cleveland if you don't appreciate local history. But many journalists will be wrapping up their coverage and headed to Philadelphia without that chance to report that story.