Think about it. That’s what I do. I tell people’s stories. Sometimes they are happy stories, tales of hope, recollections of times past. Sometimes the stories are not so happy.
And sometimes the people whose stories I tell are … people.
They are people like Robert Pemberton, a man who has a great family legacy with Crescent Market. A legacy that isn’t diminished by the store’s closing. But he’s a person under great strain. His mother is ailing. He’s facing the inevitable onslaught of newer, hipper, better funded corporate groceries coming in from all directions – Whole Foods to the south, Sunflower Market to the west, and a revamped Homeland to the north.
His days as a grocer, at least in Nichols Hills Plaza, were numbered. But he wasn’t ready to tell his story. And when he learned that Linda Cavanaugh at KFOR was going to tell that story, with or without him, he panicked.
And when I called him, he denied everything. Even though the truth was apparent to everybody.
So what was I to do? I had a denial I knew wasn’t going to hold. And to put that denial out in print would be to question the work of a journalist I respect. Someone who did her homework. Someone who got the story right.
And so I did the post you read last week. It was a compromise, really. It was a way for me to tell you that yes, I was aware of this story. Yes, I had checked into it. This was his response. But I wasn’t telling you that Linda Cavanaugh got the story wrong.
I knew she got it right.
Every journalist has their own way, their own method of telling these stories. And we face times when we’re conflicted; do we go ahead and get the story first, regardless of whether someone like Pemberton is ready to share that story? I’ve done that from time to time. That’s what Cavanaugh did last week – and it was a totally legit move on her part.
Then there are times when you decide to hold – even when you know you’re going to be legitimately scooped. My gut told me I could get a better grasp of this story – and give more context – if I worked with Pemberton, gave him time to come to terms with what is, essentially, a death of a loved one (the store).
If you go to www.newsok.com/stevelackmeyer you can read those stories now – or catch the morning paper and take it all in, photos and all, and plan what might be your first, and last, visit to Crescent Market.