I was a little surprised this morning when I saw the headline shown above on this story in the Gazette.
Or, I should say that the headline surprised me after I read the first paragraph and learned that the robbery took place at a Holiday Station. I thought I knew the South Side fairly well, and I couldn’t picture a Holiday Station there.
Then I remembered the one at South Billings Boulevard and King Avenue East. I wasn’t sure that qualified as the South Side (technically, it is within the boundaries of the Southwest Corridor Task Force), but still, close enough.
Then I looked at the address of the Holiday Station in question: 785 S. 20th St. I have to admit, I was stumped. I could not picture that. I was trying to find, in my mind, South 20th Street on the South Side. So I Googled it. Aha! It’s the Holiday Station at South 20th Street West and King Avenue West, a stone’s throw from the Texas Roadhouse, Costco, etc.
In other words, West End. Not remotely part of the South Side.
Over the years when I worked at the Gazette, we were periodically taken to task for using “South Side” in too many headlines, usually those on top of crime stories. So we tried to be careful, tried to avoid stigmatizing a part of town already sufficiently stereotyped by too many people.
So please look at this not as criticism of the Gazette, not as an instance of what Sarah Palin loved to refer to as “gotcha journalism.” It is just a cautionary note to the Gazette to avoid stigmatizing the South Side, particularly when the South Side is miles away from the story in question.