I read the article about the need to clean up the Fourth Ward originally online. I then read it in the April 29 hard copy issue of Montclair Local. Moreover, I read the article about the Montclair parks cleanup in the same issue.

Compare the tone of the articles. The online article: bold graphic, you can’t miss the article. Indeed, the beginning of the very first sentence in the article noted teens hired for the cleanup will clear “litter from streets.” What a first image of the Fourth Ward! The newspaper article: subdued; you could almost miss it. Park cleanup article: a township group effort, environmentally oriented, we care.

To get to the point, as a Fourth Ward resident, I was dismayed by the Fourth Ward article. My first reaction: What a negative image of the Fourth Ward. Where is all this litter in the Fourth Ward? What efforts have been made by the Fourth Ward residents themselves? Isn’t the Department of Public Works doing its job? Is this article really about informing high school seniors that there are summer jobs available, is this project a way to spend grant money!

There have been other calls for cleanup rallies for other wards. The calls I have seen always talk about beautification in one form or the other or environmental concerns — such as described in the park cleanup article. Remarkably, that article noted how Glenfield Park, in the Fourth Ward, was included in the overall volunteer township effort.

Moreover, if there is a specific area that might need this endeavor, it isn’t equitable to paint the entire Fourth Ward with the same brush.

In writing future articles, please consider what impression can be made by the words used.

Augusta Ellen Madyun

Editor’s note: Online and in-print versions of an article about the “Fourth Ward Clean Team,” a job opportunity for Montclair teens to clean the ward’s streets and other public spaces, included identical story text but different headlines. The online version included an image of a “job opening” sign; no image was included with the print edition. 


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