In Fargo, nothing says ‘love’ like a little ambivalence

Rev. Adam J. Copeland, a member of the faculty at Concordia College in Moorhead, loves Fargo. He just doesn’t subscribe to the apparent journalism commandment: “Thou shalt speak no ill of Fargo.”

Copeland stirred things up in paradise this week when he wrote on his blog — A Wee Blether — criticizing coverage of Fargo by the media. He says stories about the city are heavy on glowing praise, absent of critical perspective.

“It’s a problem because, short of heaven, it’s inaccurate,” he said.

Yes, please note our thriving downtown, and also report the growing number of renters who have had to move away because they couldn’t keep up with rising costs. Please include quotes from those on fixed-incomes who can’t find a new place near a bus stop (have you waited for a bus in below-zero temps). Please note all the new apartments in downtown, while lovely, are double the rental rates of years past.

Yes, please note the super low unemployment rate, please note the positive effects of the oil boom out west, but also consider our sky-rocketing homeless population. Please consider the ability (or not) to live off North Dakota’s minimum wage. It’s wonderful many of our churches have come together to house homeless in their buildings each winter; it’s not so wonderful they had to in the first place. We lead the nation in unemployment. What if we led the nation in responses to homelessness and the services provided to homeless veterans and the mentally ill?

Yes, please note that we historically are a community of Scandinavian immigrants; please also comment on our continued legacy (thanks to Lutheran Social Services) as a community for new Americans, often refugees. Please also report on how well we actually integrate new Americans into our neighborhoods, churches, city planning, and (gasp) even our downtown.

While reasserting his love of Fargo, Copeland calls on his neighbors:

… the next time they see a reporter here to write-up a fluffy Fargo-is-actually-not-a-frozen-tundra story, push the reporter to write a “yes, and….” piece.

“I share the excitement,” he told the Fargo Forum yesterday, “but I also don’t want that to be unrealistic and don’t want to present to larger media markets and more folks that we’ve got it all figured out, because we don’t.”

(h/t: Nate Minor)