Marie Claire

Jana Winter, a writer for Marie Claire magazine came down the dock yesterday wanting to talk about The Gloucester teen pregnancy story.

She asked me what I thought about the situation and I told her truthfully that I don’t know a single one of the girls or their names. Then I asked her a few leading questions.

The first question was how long she had been here in Gloucester. She answered 4 days.

Then I asked her if it was anything like she had imagined it to be from her research. She told me she just didn’t get it. She told me that she had read around 200 articles about Gloucester and the teen pregnancy story and every article started with adjectives like “down and out, depressed, dysfunctional” She has been nothing but blown away.

She kept saying over and over “I don’t get it, this place is incredible. I expected the worst. I don’t get it.”

Then I told her, “Well there is your story.”

The story isn’t about the 17 pregnant girls which isn’t out of line with the ratio of high school pregnancies around the country. The story is about the horrible job the media did repeating the same stereotypes of Gloucester as a hard luck town without actually spending a little time here.

I told her the story is how this is a town that cares about each other, a town that has incredible beaches, arts, dining, and community activities, a town where you know your neighbors.

The story is about how lazy reporters repeated the same copy from the same stories without coming here for themselves and seeing what a great place Gloucester is as opposed to the generic bedroom communities that are always touted as being such great places but don’t offer the soul one tenth of what Gloucester has to offer.

We will see how Jana writes her story. It will be in the October or November issue of Marie Claire, but unless she was just blowing smoke up my ass we should read about how the media was irresponsible in their lazy journalism.

We should read how fantastic a place Gloucester is. If the media that reported on the Gloucester would have spent just a little bit of time here like Jana, instead of rehashing stereotypes from behind a keyboard in Plaineville USA they would have got the right story instead of regurgitated misrepresentations.

27 comments

  • Martin Del Vecchio

    Joe, don’t be surprised if she ignores your input and writes the story her editors want, which of course would be a sensational article about illicit teen sex, pregnancies, etc.

    If actual journalism has failed Gloucester, why would Marie Claire be any different?

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  • Joe, I give you a standing ovation! Great response.

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  • Joe:

    This is somewhat unrelated, but the latest Martha Stewart Magazine has a couple of photos of Gloucester Harbor in it (for an article on chowder.)

    Check it out if you get a chance. It’s the August issue. I couldn’t find an e-mail address for you here on the site to send the heads-up some other way.

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  • We will see.

    Maybe, just maybe she will dare to step outside of the box.

    If not, and she betrays what we talked about, we’ll have fun lambasting her integrity here.

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  • Kurt, the lobsters they used for the Martha Stewart shoot came from us and I haven’t seen the picture but they may have used the dock in a shot or two.

    They actually shot that last year for publication this summer.

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  • good on you, Joe…

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  • Bravo, Joe! It is really hard fighting that lazy-media-invented stereotype. Those of us who are blogging about the beauties of Gloucester have to keep fighting. I have gotten calls (because of articles on my blog) from reporters both here and from the BBC. I tell them the truth — as you do — and they act disappointed. What in the HELL is with these people? Are their readers that depraved that they only want to hear how awful it is here?

    Sick.

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  • Good for you Joe! I am a member of the media and also a Gloucester native, and I applaud you for telling it like it is. There is, however, a little more to the story than will ever meet the public eye. I hope you don’t mind if I use this as my soap box for a minute.

    An interesting point is, not only did the media choose to regurgitate an inaccurate story; they shirked any opportunity for getting it right. While certainly is their undeniable fault, I only place about 90 of the blame on them. To the general public, I place the remaining 10 percent.
    I was in touch with producers from CNN on June 18, the day the story broke, and had a 1 p.m. telephone meeting with them, at which time I was supposed to provide them with contacts in the community who would talk about what they’ve seen regarding Gloucester’s teen pregnancy issues. I let them know that I could most-likely get them in touch with students, teachers, and school committee members, but at that time was told CNN felt greater pressure to get the story reported in a timely fashion (i.e. by 4 p.m.) as opposed to digging deep for absolute accuracy.
    I blame CNN for not taking the opportunity to get the right information out there, but I also blame the American public for their unreasonable expectations on the news media.
    I regularly hear people lambasting the Gloucester Daily Times (an excellent community newspaper, in my opinion) for reporting on things “a day after they’ve passed.” It should be noted that the GDT never once dipped their toe in the public bloodbath: they never once sensationalized the story. And, as I recall, the fact that they refused to use the term “pregnancy pact” was met with a fair amount of criticism from the Gloucester community when the story went national. So much criticism, as a matter of fact, that editor Ray Lamont had to address the criticism in an editorial.
    I absolutely agree that if the media wants our trust they need to get the facts straight, but when they’re writing for a population has the attention span of a gnat, they are faced with an impossible choice: take 24-hours to fully research a topic and risk losing readers, or do the best you can with impossible deadlines and sources that don’t call back to appease readers who want a feature written on today’s story yesterday.
    If we want fair and accurate reporting we need to allow the media time to fully explore the information at hand. We need to place greater importance on accuracy than on having our news fed to us at Mach-3 speed.
    It should be noted that Time Magazine most-likely had weeks to craft their story. I hate to throw stones but I do wonder how they could have made such a gross error.
    And hey, Joe, I don’t criticize your comment to Marie Claire one bit. As a matter of fact, I think what you said was dead on. It’s just a shame that other news organizations didn’t have the same luxury of sending a journalist to Gloucester for a four-hour tour. If we allowed them that, maybe we could go back to regarding the press as the Fourth Estate.

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  • Well in fairness, Jana from Marie Claire seemed to get it.

    We will see once her story comes out.

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  • Joe, how wonderful of you to stick up for Gloucester. It is beautiful. We are caring people. Kudos to you!
    Pat

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  • Thanks mom. In this case I don’t think I really needed to.

    I’m pretty sure that Jana “gets it” about Gloucester.

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  • Janelle… you’re so smaht.

    Joey, you too. Great post.

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  • Janelle might be smaht, I’m just a dummy in front of a computer.

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  • My blog about this just got picked up by Yahoo Finance! Hope they take a look at your blog now….

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  • It’s amazing that GMG gets at least triple the daily views than Parlez and your blog posting about my content is the one that gets picked up.

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  • Well, I think there are several reasons why. First of all, I’ve been around a long time — my blog is three years old this month. Second, I have really diverse content — publishing, the arts, stuff about Gloucester, literary content, knitting, etc. Consequently the blog searchers have gotten accustomed to coming to my blog to see what I am talking about. And, even though I don’t get as many hits per-se, I get a lot of unique hits. Because you update many times a day the same people come back several times a day whereas most people only come to my blog once a day. I don’t know how your stats counter works but mine logs both the number of hits and the unique hits.

    Also, i have a long track record of getting picked up by major news services. My blogs about Enron got picked up all over the country and the NY Times picked up my blog about Bobby Fischer. Plus, because of my blogs about the Defonseca Hoax, I’m regularly cruised by European outlets like Le Monde and Le Soir.

    All of those things make a difference. Also, bear in mind that my syndication feeds (I have RSS and Atomic) are in the thousands. Don’t worry — when you’vebeen around as long as I have you’ll bow me out of the water!!!

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  • BLOW me out of the water…. I can’t type….

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  • Yes that’s for sure.

    My blog is more centrally themed even though it’s diverse within the subtext of that theme. Your blog is more universally diverse.

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  • Marie Claire is one of the best women’s magazines out there, specifically with what I find to be fair reporting for important stories. I read it every month. I hope too, that this comment won’t end up a foot in my mouth when the story comes out but reading them since they’ve appeared on the American scene, I think Gloucester has a good chance of being pleased. I look forward to reading it. And after all I’ve read about it from Marc at The Legal Satyricon, it’s a place I look forward to visting one day. A few “bad apples” don’t always mess up the entire basket. Besides, I think this publicity will actually help the girls and/or families in the future.

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  • Update, Jana is writing the piece for Marie Claire UK

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  • Well Looks like Joey is all about painting the pretty picture of a town hit hard by secret ism’s for decades. The preppy folks many of whom are newcomers posing as ye old salties want to steam clean power wash and direct all tourist traffic to the Ol’ Man In The Sea statue. Look deeper Jana for you will see what Joey doesn’t want you to report. Attack the media is what Joey wants to do when the perfect family ideals that he wants to promote and that eludes his neighbors. Personally Jana I think that you should send Joey back to his dingy with his tail between his legs, I know that you have it in you.

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    • You couldn’t be further from the truth. We revel in our differences here inGloucester. We celebrate that we aren’t a cookie cutter community of yuppies. Sure there are yuppies, sure there are blue collar tradesmen, sure there are artists and hippies. We aren’t hiding that fact. You’ll have to go to some cookie cutter town to find folks that all try to emulate each other. We celebrate our differences. Sorry you missed the point. If you can’t appreciate the great variety of excellent dining we have here, the arts and cultural heritage we have here, and the natural beauty of our beaches and coast then you must be blind.

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    • BTW, if you think I’m “all about painting the pretty picture” then you must have missed this post- http://goodmorninggloucester.wordpress.com/2009/04/29/dead-and-rotting-video-sometimes-it-aint-all-that-romantic/

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  • It kills some people to see other people who can focus on the good and positive be happy. Gloucester isn’t perfect nor are its people but this town is ours and if you don’t like it or the people in it don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out!

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  • I agree Joey and Chichu.
    We moved back home to Gloucester after living in a predomanitly White collar “upscale” community for 18 years. Talk about skeletons in the closet, kids having problems and Town issues. Gloucester is lucky to have a lot of people like Joey who get involved and help make Gloucester a more livable and unique community. Move away Rev come back in a few years and you’ll appreciate what you have here in Gloucester. Stop worrying about the people around you, Get out , get involved and maybe you’ll start enjoying life.

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  • star squiggle

    no, we are not Stepford…nor do we want to be.

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  • Jana Winter lacks journalistic integrity. She routinely distorts facts to fit whatever narrative she is pushing.

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