Samuels Gets Burned
I found this article on the Strib website. This article is about Minneapolis City Council member Don Samuels and the response to comments he made about North High School in this month's Mpls.St.Paul magazine. In the magazine article he was quoted as saying, "I've said burn North High School down! I can't be paying as a taxpayer for the education of my neighbors and 72 percent of them are failing." The comments caused outrage among students, parents, faculty, and North High community members. At a special committee meeting Thursday held at the school, Samuels apologized yet again for the comments and tried to explain that he meant well. In his speech he outlined plans for improving the school by creating a partnership with Minneapolis schools and bringing in educational experts. The crowd of about 250 people was not very receptive. Students and faculty spoke on their personal experiences at North and criticized Samuels for looking down on their community. Faculty and community leaders hope the meeting will force Samuels to follow through on his plans for improving the school’s conditions.
I think this article is a pretty straightforward follow-up story. It was good that the author included the original quote from Samuels that caused the controversy. The article gave a good description of what the community thought of his comments, but didn’t really elaborate on his defense. The meeting was described as being a chance for Samuels to speak to the community about what his comments and explain, but the article only included two sentences about what he actually said.
I couldn’t find another article in the PPress to compare this to. So instead I searched the Strib archives for the original story. The original story gave much more insight into the incident. After reading the follow-up I didn’t get a sense that his comments were racial in nature, but the original story is mostly about black community leaders speaking out against Samuels. The original article even said they called for his resignation and protested at Minneapolis City Council meetings. The original article also makes reference to a future meeting with Samuels at the school which is the basis for the follow-up story.
After reading both articles, I think that the follow-up story would have been more effective if it included more of Samuels’ plan to rectify the situation. After the story broke it was the reaction of the community that made it newsworthy, but the follow-up just reiterated the same points instead of giving Samuels’ response.