Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Opinion: How a single picture can impact a community

Local media still has power. Last week, Brian Quinn of the Wellsville Daily Reporter snapped a photo. John Anderson, Regional Editor for Gatehouse Media, used his experience and moved the story along. That story? A now widely reported hate crime in the Village of Wellsville. A softball dugout was defaced with spray painted hateful words. Since Brian first snapped that photo, the story has received national attention to include front page of USA Today, major TV networks, not to mention the scads of local and regional media coverage. The crime prompted Wellsville Police Chief Tim O'Grady to make a public statement on a Saturday night. Mayor Judy Lynch also opened up to RNN on a Saturday night. We have received comments from New York to California...mostly from former Wellsville residents saying, "what the Hell?"
The hate message was quickly painted over and new, fresh signs of hope now dot the village landscape.
Wellsville resident Mason Sorenson told Channel 7 (WKBW) news that "it was very out of character and very sad." Freddy Fredrickson has lived in Wellsville for three plus decades. He created signs of hope and told TV news that "Wellsville is not deserving of the reputation it just received nationwide." RNN agrees with that statement.
The single photo that Brian Quinn took even, in part, prompted New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to order a state investigation...sending state officials and law enforcement to Wellsville. Wow...the power of a single picture.
When the story first broke, RNN didn't report it. We said we didn't want to add fuel to the fire and give credit to the scum responsible. We question our response but ultimately couldn't ignore it once the Governor became involved. The scum who perpetrated this crime has to shaking right now. I mean really, what possibly began as a prank, a small town mischievous act is now a really big *** deal-a felony crime.
Thing is, with so much attention, law enforcement will make an arrest...they kinda have to now. This story isn't going to go away. What perhaps began as a simple act of foolish vandalism has now become so much more. Then again, there could have been a more sinister intent. To the person or persons responsible, your smartest move now is to fall on the sword, apologize and turn yourself(s) in.  
Local media still has power to affect change. Just look at the impact of the Wellsville Daily Reporter photo. A single picture may have altered Wellsville for some time to come...