Buffalo’s National Reputation

Being from Buffalo, I was intrigued by a radio broadcast of a woman venting about how the media has distorted what shape her city is in.

“From calls that we get at the Convention and Visitors Bureau, people still think that the city is devastated because the media keeps showing archival footage of the city right after the storm.  It’s sexier…”

“There’s a lot of mis-perception out there about the condition that the city is in…”

Buffalo after the October Surprise, you might think.  Actually, it’s a comment about New Orleans after Katrina, taken from an interview done by NPR’s John Burnett.  But the problems with fair national media coverage are the same there as they are here.  Viewers want to see disasters, and the media is more than willing to stick with its “If it bleeds, it leads” emphasis.  The longer that disaster footage can be strung out, the better.  In New Orleans’ case as in Buffalo’s, any renewal taking place will get short shrift because to the media, it’s just not sexy.  Watching the knife fight is much more entertaining than watching the scars heal.

Buffalo is an urban environment blossoming with change.  In thirty years we have transformed from a nearly exclusive blue-collar, heavy industry-dependent city to one with diverse employment, one that has proven itself to be quite resilient and resistant to the economic cycles.  I’m not saying that we have enough jobs to go around – we don’t – but all the variety bodes well for the future.

We’ve taken some very hard knocks and had to hit bottom to get here, but I’m pretty sure that the worst is behind us.

Now if only we can get the media to report on this as often as they report on our snow.



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