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Reader Opinion: Arboretum: time warp or alternate universe?

Ever attended a public meeting only to discover that you weren't at the meeting after reading about it later in the newspaper?

So there you were, along with about two dozen others, discussing specific topics and sharing ideas. Everyone was focused on forming a cohesive plan in order to accomplish common goals. Many in the room spoke while others listened, all gaining knowledge about the issues.

A week later, you read a story in the newspaper, allegedly about the same meeting you attended.

But wait! What's this?

The reporter reported virtually nothing about what actually took place at the meeting you attended.

You ask yourself, "How could this possibly happen?"

The headline reads:

"Buses, trains take center stage at Region 5 transit committee meeting."

You know you attended a recent Region 5 meeting at the Arboretum exclusively about bus transportation, and yet you cannot recall a word being said about trains.

"Hmm," you ask yourself, "What's going on here?"

Reading through the story, you see one attendee was interviewed via phone and talked exclusively about passenger trains. But you know for a fact the man didn't even utter the word train at the meeting, nor did anyone else say the word train.

Did you possibly enter a time warp? An alternative universe?

No, you didn't. You entered the Brainerd Dispatch Twilight Zone!

This is where the pinnacle of journalism takes "center stage," to steal a phrase from the cub reporter who was given an assignment and ran with it.

The reporter's story changes the entire substance of the meeting afterwards by bringing in state legislators and asking them questions about something which was not discussed at the meeting.

Would this fool you? Probably not.

But it certainly would if you did not attend that meeting.

Jeff Czeczok


Editor's Note: The story was not aimed at covering the meeting. The reporter notes the phone interview took place days after the meeting happened, but the focus from the meeting highlighted the discourse on transportation and the story went on to cover the topic, including contacting area legislators for their opinions on a commuter railroad.