By now, you’ve probably heard that Hartford was placed on a controversial list. It’s funny how some have latched right on to the notion, but when Hartford makes other lists, its presence on them is instantly dismissed. For example, CNNMoney.com named Hartford as one of the best places to start a small business. The posting of this link to a friend’s Facebook page was followed by immediate reactionary comments, dismissing the ranking. But between CNN and a source I had never heard of, I am going to typically find CNN to be more reliable. The opposite seems to be true for many; they believe whichever source reaffirms their own beliefs. Yet, how is it that multiple pieces of evidence are routinely ignored? Forbes.com placed Hartford on a list of Best Cities to Find a Job. On another list, Hartford moved from #149 (out of 200) in 2008 to #49 in 2009 Best Performing Cities. Those are just three lists that refute the claim that Hartford belongs on a “worst” list based on its economy. Hartford is known for its insurance industry, but insurance is not the only game in town. The economy is also not the only way to take a city’s pulse. A neighborhood in Hartford was named on “Best Places for First-Time Buyers to Get an Old House” published on This Old House. But that’s a positive story, so there’s nothing to see there. Right?
Live in Hartford, a local blog, has published a number of articles which implicitly, and at times explicitly, make the case that Hartford is very much alive. Heck, the name of the blog itself, no matter which version of “live” one reads it as, makes this exact point. While some are using economics as the way to take a city’s temperature, Emily and Julie measure life in another way. In an article published yesterday, Emily directly addresses the recent controversial list. In March, she took a similar approach by listing the plethora of arts and entertainment activities happening within city limits. In January, Julie wrote about the standpoint theory, and described how someone from not here referred to Hartford as a cosmopolitan city. Going back to June 2009, Julie shows what a party for the brand new science center looks like. A piece from March 2009 talks about what it is like to live here as young(ish) professionals. This is just a sampling of what a single blog has done to describe, in words and pictures, Hartford, at length. There are no bait-and-switch tactics, no sensationalism, and no appeals to emotions used here (well, except for when the bloggers try to find homes for dogs). It’s honest. But as Emily writes, “what do I know, I just live and work and shop and play here.”
Every so often a major media outlet declares something dead. Or, they will mask a statement by turning it into a question. They will ask if God is dead, or feminism is dead. Egregious claims and controversial debates sell copies, more than nuanced argument will. Take for example the claims made by a District Attorney candidate in that state just to our north. (more…)