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capitalapts

The Independent

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I'm sure pretty much everyone either knows of or reads/brouses through The Independent who lives in these parts. I'm curious to know the group opinion on it.

I used to read it (actually read the articles) in college more, in grad and undergrad, but when I moved back to Raleigh I probably read the Spectator more, because I felt like it covered Raleigh better insofar as what was going on musically/socially/culturally. The Independent always seemed to favor Chapel Hill in its coverage, which was appropriate given each town basically had a paper.

Then, when the Spectator got subsumed by the Indy, the Indy made some effort to be attentive to what's going on in Raleigh relative to Chapel Hill (and Durham to a lesser extent), but that seems to have stopped for the most part, to me. Even though Raleigh is by far the largest town in the Triangle with by far the most restaurants and stuff going on, it gets a disproportionate amount of coverage by the Indy.

Furthermore, even though I am leftist, I feel like many of the stories featured in there really just pander to the left and don't offer much food for thought.

In summary, I feel like despite now being marketed as the "Triangle's" independent newspaper, in reality, the Indenpendent caters to a very small subset of people in the area.

Thoughts? I am by no means trying to start a flame war or pit board conservatives against lefties-I'm mostly curious as to whether or not other leftists in the area feel the same way as I do.

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I'll have to agree, for the most part, on your assessment. It is a good place to go to find out what is happening in and around the Triangle, but most of the stuff I find out about Raleigh (like what bands are playing where) are in the ad's that the clubs and venues pay for.

I think their offices are in Durham somewhere? I'm not sure, I just know they aren't in Raleigh. I get the feeling when I read some of the articles that they are more critical of Raleigh than Durham and Chapel Hill - I don't have any specific examples, it just seems to come off that way.

And about it pandering to the left, I couldnt' agree more. I'm definitely an "Independent" but I rarely see both sides of an issue presented equally, if at all a lot of times.

Oh, and the personal ads are HILARIOUS. Especially the "variations"...I'd pick up an Indy every week just to laugh at those.

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I'm a fan of the Indy, and I would agree, they tend to favor the northwestern portion of the triangle more. I wouldn't be surprised if, in a few years, they re-focused their coverage on strictly the Durham/CH/Carrboro region, with someone in Raleigh starting up their own alt-weekly.

Speaking of favoring Durham/CH/Carrboro: next week is the INDY's "We Love Durham" issue. You didn't hear that from me.

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The Independent is a great weekly even though I don't subscribe to a lot of their political views. For instance, where else would you get a full write up on 2 bands like Thrones and Growing (plug for this show) in most weekly rags. I am looking forward to the "We love Durham" issue as well.

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The Indy, for the most part, is terrific. I find Peter Eichenberger insufferable, but most of their other journalists (Jennifer Strom, Fiona Morgan, Bob Geary) do the region an invaluable service by following the stories the N&O won't throw investigative reporters at because the stories are not "mainstream" enough.

The coverage of Bunkey Morgan and his shenanigans in Chatham County that lead to a sweepout of the entire incumbent board in this month's Democratic primary came primarily from the Indy shining their light on all the double dealings down there. The N&O played catchup for the better part of a year, and generally got their lunch handed to them on that coverage.

The Herald-Sun has become mostly pathetic since the McClatchey buyout.

As for a split- there's not enough "alt" in Raleigh for an alt-weekly paper that isn't just a "what's up in the club" rag. That's what the Spectator was.

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I think the Indy covers Raleigh pretty well actually--or maybe that's a more recent trend... "Digging DT" (Ral), "Rockonomics" (Ral), the one about the NRC/Sharon Harris Plant, Eichenberger on Sadlack's (he lives in Raleigh) and most of Geary's (he lives in my CAC district & goes to my gym) Citizen columns are about Raleigh politics. Yeah, it's leftist, but we need that these days--esp in Raleigh, because you surely can't get the stories they do in the mainstream media today. I read it for the investigative reporting, Crowther's columns (his scathing column on Bob Woodward was tremendous!), Citizen columns, music and movie reviews... and take the stories and form my own opinions. IMO the Indy fills an important gap in the local news scene.

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Speaking of favoring Durham/CH/Carrboro: next week is the INDY's "We Love Durham" issue. You didn't hear that from me.

Ah-hah! Clear evidence of the Indy's westward Triangle bias ;)

To clarify, I couldn't agree more that, given that commercial interests more often than not trump actual news reporting as far as the mainstream media is concerned, grassroots investigative reporting is very much needed. The Indy does provide this in some issues. However, and this is based on personal observation/opinion, for every great piece of investigative journalism in the Indy, there is an unqualified rant/soliloquy of the political status quo, hence my mention of the Indy "pandering to the left." Yes, I don't agree with the current administration, Congress, and its policies, but life goes on, and that is not to say that there are no newsworthy items as far as this goes-I'm just tired of what I perceive to be a whiney tone.

Thanks to those who have posted opinions, it's interesting to read.

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It's an okay magazine. I'm still trying to figure out why Raleigh dosen't have it's own magazine. Afterall just the other day I say the Cary magazine for the first time and I was like" aw heck naw" not when the largest city in the Area dosen't have a really inclusive magazine with the latest goings on, and not just shallow fluff articles. Really in depth ones on arts, music scenes, new developments and restaurantsa.

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Speaking of regional magazines, I recently noticed a rag called 15-501 (connecting Durham and CH) on a stand at Kroger (I think).

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I have to agree with capitalapts' comments for the most part.

The only ties the Independent has to Raleigh is Eichenberger (who appears to hate Raleigh and everything in it with a passion) and Bob Geary "reporting" to folks on the other side of RDU airport about how bad Raleigh is. No TTA train? Blame Raleigh. Soleil sucks? Blame Raleigh. Hotel design 104-B headed for the new convention center? City Council has no imagination.

Only the Indy would pair a picture of a young African-American with what appears to be blood on his hands and a smile on his face with the caption "Why We Love Durham" underneath. Wow. That image is why Raleigh and Cary *don't* like about Durham -- blood on your hands? no problem! The women's lacrosse team wears "innocent" armbands? You go girls! The "pnly the national media made the lax scandal a race/class issue" completely ignored the New Black Panthers, alleged incidents between Central and Duke students, and relentless "if they were black, they'd be in jail already" comments.

I lived in Durham for two years (NCSSM) 15 years ago and have seen it evolve (for better or worse) into Chapel Hill East. They have about as much culture as Raleigh, but the Indy does whatever it can to portray Raleigh as a cultural wasteland and Chapel Hill, Durham, and now Chatam county as the only places worth doing anything in for completely selfish reasons.

The Blotter takes it to a new level, though. It only pretends to be a triangle publication to get Raleigh ad dollars. I can not bring myself to pick up "Metro" magazine or that Cary thing. There will be an ad for somehing, and then a "story" for it on the next page. Ugh.

I want to start an alternative "something" for Raleigh. It will probably be web based and I already have a domain, which shares its name with a certain evening paper that shut down a while ago. The plan is to put something up when Fayetville Street reopens and see where it goes from there. I envision it as being a "tales of the city" type blog/message board/whatever. No deadlines, maybe a podcast (depends on what Yahoo webhosting charges for it) photo essays, etc. Articles on the history of parts of town, profiles of everyday citizens, what is your favorite walking/jogging/biking route, and who knows what else. Something different than everything else out there now.

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I did not like the article in this week's "what's so scary about durham" Indy issue. The whole article painted Raleigh as being the evil step child that doesn't deserve to be the Triangle's major city. They even went on to blame the naming of Raleigh-Durham airport as the reason why Durham is looked down upon. Raleigh first, Durham last... etc.

I think Durham is a great city that has lots of potential, but they have lots of cleaning up to do. Whoever wrote that article in the Indy needs to look in the mirror. Besides the now thriving tobacco district, downtown Durham looks like an abandoned war zone. There are blocks and blocks of shabby looking, boarded up homes in the surrounding neighborhoods. And yet, they wonder why there's such a negative perception of the city. However, I do agree that news coverage of Durham's crime is a bit exaggerated. I have never felt unsafe in Durham. The core of Durham isn't the prettiest, but I'm not scared to be there.

I grew up in Baltimore, and Durham doesn't even come close to the dispair I see in that city. The article even went on to say that RTP is in Durham county, not Wake, blah blah. I'm not sure what his/her point was with that one. It's not that important anyway. Judging by the rush-hour traffic on I-40, its obvious where everyone is choosing to live. Overall, I think Durham has some skeletons to clean out of its closet, as does Raleigh. Raleigh is not perfect. It has it's rough spots and issues that need to be addressed. But, I just dont feel it is fair to single out the eastern half of the Triangle in that retrospect. One thing I can say about Durham is that it's downtown feels more urban than Raleigh's although highrise development is still lacking. I think the city has potential to do big things -- and I want to be there when it happens.

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Allow me to add my $.02...

As my screen name indicates, I am a Durham Diva now living in Raleigh. I LOVE Durham, and when my situation changes a bit, I plan to move back. I think it was WAAAAAAAAAAYYYYY past time for that article to be written. I really, really enjoyed the article. I thought it was very well-written and well-researched. Living in Raleigh, I generally defend Durham on pretty much a daily basis. I hear comments such as, "You're from Durham? Don't shoot me" or "I'll bet you were glad to get out of there" to "what a dump that place is", or "I don't go to Durham" (a woman from BALTIMORE told me this) and any number of various ignorant comments. Most of these people have NEVER been to Durham.

As for the comment about RTP being in Durham county--I think that's an important point to make. People REALLY don't know what's in Durham, and it affects the image of the city when people have these misconceptions. I heard a reporter in Greensboro say that Durham is the city "everyone in NC wish could go away". Well, okay, let's make Durham go away. That means we'll take RTP and all the jobs they bring, all of the companies in Durham, Duke, NCCU and everything else--how would THAT affect the state?

Yes, Durham has some "skeletons"--but living here in Raleigh I can tell you firsthand that Raleigh has some as well. There's crap going on everywhere.

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Only the Indy would pair a picture of a young African-American with what appears to be blood on his hands and a smile on his face with the caption "Why We Love Durham" underneath. Wow. That image is why Raleigh and Cary *don't* like about Durham -- blood on your hands? no problem!

They got you. The caption of the photo tells you that the kid's hands are covered with juice from picking blackberries, but you didn't check and your brain filled in the rest for you, revealing the archetypes you have planted in your brain about Durham. The story title was actually "What's So Scary About Durham?"

That said, while I do believe that the media coverage of Durham, especially on tv, is designed to fit people's stereotypes rather than go deeper, I felt the Indy did whitewash some of the problems with youth violence in the city in this most recent article. The homicide rate per 100,000 is waay up in Durham compared to other NC cities over the last few years, and while 2005 has been better so far, there are serious problems on the table when 40% of your murder suspects are under 19.

I found the part about Downtown Durham being dangerous a little funny. Downtown Durham is mostly deserted, other than around Brightleaf and American Tobacco. It's the more eastern part of the city that gives me the willies.

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Well, okay, let's make Durham go away. That means we'll take RTP and all the jobs they bring,

You make some good points, but I have to call you out on this one. RTP is not what it is because of Durham. It was a single, descrete entity that has always relied on Raleigh/Cary commuters for the vast majority of its work force.

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But dmcall, RTP is IN Durham, and my whole point is that the comment that Durham should just "go away" is kind of ignorant and leaves out a whole lot of facts.

That brings to light another problem that the article brought up. I don't have figures in front of me (and I'm too lazy to go look any up :D ) but I'd venture that a pretty good percentage of those people who move to the area to work at RTP move here from other places. Even though RTP is actually in Durham County, most of these people are moving to Raleigh and other areas. Why? Because of stuff they heard, and being steered that way by Realtors.

Apparently in the article they did some kind of "Secret Shopper" deal with Realtors, and the Realtors told them about EVERY RTP community--Cary, Raleigh, Knightdale, Garner, Morrisville--but left Durham out. When asked directly, Realtors claimed they weren't "familiar" with the city.

I'm not saying Durham is perfect. But since I've been in Raleigh (and NORTH Raleigh at that) I've had my bike stolen, packages from off of my porch stolen, my house spray painted, and I've been called a b*tch by scorned would-be thug suitors whom I wouldn't give my phone number. A couple of murders have taken place in this vicinity, and someone went around shooting out sliding glass doors in my neighborhood. None of this stuff really happened to me when I was living in Durham. Teenagers hang out all hours of the night, and gang symbols have been appearing behind the Harris-Teeter. A coworker wearing a red bandanna in Knightdale got questioned by a gang member. So as for this "Raleigh (and other areas) is Utopia and Durham is just like South Central Los Angeles" to me is unfair. According to the Independant, Savannah, GA, Richmond, VA and Orlando, FL are more dangerous than Durham.

Getting back to the Independant newspaper--I guess I'm the lone one here, but I really like having a "Triangle" newspaper. I like to see what's going on everywhere in the area. But I do agree with the point someone made about it leaning a TEENSY bit far to the left. I also get offended when they write articles that I feel are offensive to Christians. I don't have a problem with you disagreeing with things that many so-called Christians are doing these days. There are some people claiming to be Christians that are doing and saying some jacked-up, stupid, horrible things. But when you begin attacking the actual FAITH and making comments about the followers of the faith--as the Independant has done on several occasions--that's crossing the line to me.

Does anybody think the Independant would be weakened if each city got their own paper?

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Most of the pull out section was more "why we love Durham" than "What's so scarry about Durham".

I knew (hoped) it wasn't blood in the cover photo, but didn't read the caption. To me, the picture itself crossed the line from "making a statement" to "reinforcing a stereotype", a stereotype they complained about the whole story. Durham is not known for its blackberry patches, is it?

I would like to think the media focus on gangs in durham is to shed light on it before it becomes ingrained in the city's culture, not to say "lookie here, Durham is dangerous." Jackie "J-Dub" Wagstaff's self-proclaimed "gansta candidacy" for mayor last year was another swept away issue. The former school board meeting disruptor received 10 percent of the vote, almost qualifying for the run-off. This is either too little and can be written off or too much and makes a statement for the city as a whole, depending on how you look at it. Another candidate was found to have a criminal past under a seperate identity? Did the Herald-Sun or Independent uncover that? No, it was the N&O and (fellow Technician alum) Michael Biesecker. If Durham elections were investigated the way Chatam County's was, maybe they could have had that scoop?

Also, there is a lot of interchanging (good and bad) of the *city of Durham* and *Durham County*. RTP is in Durham *County* but is not in the city of Durham. DATA buses serve very little of the park itself. Durham likes to talk up RTP, but look at the roads that connect it to the rest of Durham -- 55 is just now being upgraded to four lanes, MLK dead ends at 55, Alston and Miami are ok at best, not exactly an inviting gateway.

Duke is what it is because of the Duke family's money, not the city of Durham. How often do east and south durham non-student residents go to Duke (or NCCU) campus, 9th Street, etc? It is just now giving back to the city it has called home, which will hopefully continue. Duke hospitals destroyed Durham County General to the point of having to take it over.

The other question few ask is how does and/or will Downtown Durham define its borders? Inside the loop? Or something larger, like roughly Durham Freeway, Roxboro, Central Park/DAP/West Village, and Duke Street? A lot of people see what is east of Roxboro, "north" of 147, and south of 98 and project that to the rest of the city, especially if they take Durham Freeway up from I-40. They already have their minds made up before they can see the skyline. Is Durham (by itself, no RTP, Chapel Hill, etc.) even close to the same size as Savanah, Richmond, or Orlando???

To me, it was funny that they felt the need to bash Raleigh Downtown Alive. It made money and brought a lot of people downtown, but it didn't make a *lot* of money in its first year, so the Independent thinks it was not a success. And look at the schedule this year? Bands some people haven't heard of? For free? For shame! They're just appealing to whitebread teenagers, college kids, and 20/30 somethings with a list of

"where are they now" bands that aren't really touring anywhere else.

And Durham has what for free other than the American Tobacco concerts? Who is playing that? The Independent will play up Bimbe and the Bull City Jazz festival, but did they even cover Durham's version of Artsplosure/Apple Chill?

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They got you. The caption of the photo tells you that the kid's hands are covered with juice from picking blackberries, but you didn't check and your brain filled in the rest for you, revealing the archetypes you have planted in your brain about Durham. The story title was actually "What's So Scary About Durham?"

They also "got" two readers who wrote nasty letters to the editor about it. Wouldn't it be funny if they didn't see the caption until after sending the letters. :rofl: I think it was a brilliant cover, and being a Carolina Theatre employee, I think the inside pull-out section's cover was equally brilliant. :thumbsup:

I don't know if the statement about the majority of RTP's employees living in Cary or Raleigh has much weight behind it. I imagine a lot of those people transferred to RTP from elsewhere and with the help of the realtors we all read about in the Indy piece, they were directed those newcomers to the southeastern part of the Triangle.

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Did anyone see the "apology" in the May 31st issue? (which never showed up at the TTA transfer station where I usually pick up a copy)

It was their usual, self-absorbed "Sorry..... sorry you didn't 'get it'. We had some people that liked it, so we're only going to listen to them." They got so few letters and calls *because* pointing out the emperor has not clothes to them is futile. The "that was bad" letters were from Durham residents. At least one said they "got it" still found it reprehensible.

This talking down to people is the exact reason they don't get the grass roots support/attention they crave from the majority of the tringle's residents.

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Well I am an African-American female, I "got" it, and I was not offended. I just don't understand what's offensive about it. The paper had been talking up the upcoming issue. The caption below said, "What's So Scary About Durham?" Maybe they should have put something underneath in small letters saying "Johnny and Billy are picking blackberries at such-and-such", but other than that I don't see what was offensive. It basically highlights the paper's argument: people see "Durham" and assume the worst.

Someone said earlier, "When has Durham been known for picking blackberries?" Well, the ONLY place I know of to go pick blackberries (and blueberries and strawberries) is in Durham. Herndon Farms, over off of Barbee Road. The only other "U Pick" place I know of is in Angier.

And ncwebguy--what is there free to do in Raleigh? Seriously...I am not trying to be funny or argumentative--I am truly ignorant on this. EVERYTHING I've been to here in Raleigh--including this woman's bootleg dance studio's recital--costs something. Even the high school recitals cost something. The ONLY thing I've been to here that was free was a program by the African-American Dance Ensemble, and somebody sponsored that (I can't think of who, and apparently there was not enough funding to do it again).

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It was mulberries. Here's what appears under the picture:

"Nathan Streit, 10, left, and Zakwon Pierre Ledwell, 11, show off the result of picking mulberries around Old North Durham Park. "

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And ncwebguy--what is there free to do in Raleigh? Seriously...I am not trying to be funny or argumentative--I am truly ignorant on this.

This is the problem with the Independent -- you can read it and still be "ignorant" of the free things to do in Raleigh:

- First Friday art walk every Friday with a performance in City Market during non-winter months

- Artsplosure

- Downtown Raleigh Alive every other Saturday through Labor Day in Moore Square

- free outdoor movie the Saturdays DRA isn't going on in Moore Square

- Alive After Five off of Glenwood South

- various other holiday celebrations like St. Patrick's Day, Oktoberfest (well not so much now with Greenshileds gone) Christmas Parade, etc.

- Bugapalooza and other programs at the NC Natural Sciences and NC History Museums

Free museums -- NC History, NC Natural Sciences, NC Art (permanent exhibits), and other art galleries.

The fact that kids picked berries to the point of covering their arms in juice without any adults in frame, implying an accepted lack of supervision. The acceptance of this is another reason why some people find Durham scarry.

Durham does not have a monopoly on picking berries at a farm or in the wild.

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I don't think you can blame the Independent for our ignorance, because just like you are not aware of what's going on in Durham, I am not aware of what's up in Raleigh. AND I LIVE HERE!

Durham has some of the same types of things to do as well: the downtown culture crawl, the American Tobacco trail, all kinds of concerts related to Duke and NCCU, the "Acts to Follow" related to the American Dance Festival, Bimbe', the "Talent All Over Town" that's a part of "Light Up Durham", the Scrap Exchange, bellydance shows, The "Jazz at the Know" series, the spoken word events at the Hayti center, and the annual Kwanzaa celebration which I attend regularly. I do not like live music very much, so a lot of the concerts and things that you named I just don't attend or get into.

The Museum of Life and Science has an annual "bug" event as well.

The fact that kids picked berries to the point of covering their arms in juice without any adults in frame, implying an accepted lack of supervision. The acceptance of this is another reason why some people find Durham scarry.

Ummmmm....so because you didn't see any adults in the photograph, that means that there were none there? :blink: And there are *NO* unsupervised kids anywhere else in the Triangle? I can assure you that this is TOTALLY untrue. There are unsupervised kids everywhere; there are literally DOZENS of unsupervised kids in my North Raleigh neighborhood--and I see them out at all hours of the night and early morning. So I don't quite understand this comment. Kids' sticky hands="unsafe place". That's a new one to me.

And I never said that Durham held the monopoly on berry picking. Someone made the comment (maybe it was you) that Durham wasn't "known" for berry picking, and I brought up the fact that there is a very nice place to go pick berries in Durham, and it was the only one I am aware of. I didn't say it was the ONLY place.

Basically, I am pretty much done with this conversation anyway, because it seems you are dead-set and determined to see Durham as a dangerous, drab, dreary boring place, despite what anybody says otherwise.

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I don't like the way Durham looks. It's too crusty.

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Sorry for the lateness of the post, but I have just read the article. Due to length of this post I will only address two of my problems, but at least I do not use up the 1,024,000 character allotment. :D

For the most part I have been ignoring the Independent after my first glance at it. Even after it took over the superior IMO Spectator, it did not improve anything for the Wake County area. The article on Durham interested me enough to pick one up. I am now convinced that it is a rag. The article was terribly one-sided and poorly researched. It fell back on the old theme of "blame it on Raleigh" except for one column. Having been a travel agent, I found the airport section most interesting and badly researched. The claim that RDU is the only city pair airport name not in alpha order is false: Tampa-St. Petersburg. Almost all city pair airports wind up being referred to by the first city name, unless they have a really cool one: SEA- Seattle-Tacoma has SEATAC (and who isn't going to use that?) or are such a major one that their IATA designator is so well known: DFW, MSP etc. It follows the same naming convention of other city pair airports by giving two letters to the latter named city. Also I wonder if the writer realized that O'Hare is the name of one of Chicago's airports and not a city pair name? (The same goes for Reagan National) The reason that Raleigh's name appears first may have less to do with an intentional plot than the two facts of location and prior use. The airport is in Wake County and even in the '40's was closer to Raleigh. Raleigh gave up its own airport, with scheduled service, in order to allow a relocation. There is also a paragraph that darkly mentions a conspiracy concerning a name change at RDU after the war. What the "original" name was is never mentioned. A check of the official history RDU history shows that at its inception the authority was Raleigh-Durham Aeronautical Authority and all subsequent name changes flowed from there. Just because people didn't take note of something or bother to jot it down doesn't mean conspiracy.

Then there is the "blame Raleigh" theme. I remember this particularly from the inception of the Durham CVB. The first windmill to tilt at was the postmark. When the post office went to a regional distribution center they located it by the airport and named it for the airport. This was seen as another way that the evil people of Raleigh were trying to harm Durham and after lobbying it was given the nonsensical name of Greater Triangle Area. Then the CVB claimed that Raleigh was trying to thwart its industrial development because the Wake County delegation advocated against increasing the amount of waste that they could dump into Falls Lake. They seemed to reject Wake's contention that Wake merely didn't want alot more waste dumped in their water supply and major rec. area.

This is the sort of ideological tone and depth of research that I have come to expect from the Independent. Because of this and their ignoring of Raleigh (where I spend most of my time) I stick with the annoyingly named "What's Up" section of the N&O.

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