Yesterday I got an email from Sewell Chan, bureau chief of the New York Times City Blog. He said he follows Buffalo Rising (also said it was great), and he had some questions about the city. Mostly, it turned out, he needed some directions as he tried to pinpoint neighborhoods around town.
I caught up with him via cell while he was on Hudson and Niagara, and he was wondering just where the Lower West Side began and ended. It’s a good question for even those who live in the region. We talked as he continued to drive around, touching parts of the West Side and Allentown. I did my best to guide him between Porter and City Hall on Niagara with points on either side of Niagara, and then I sent him this neighborhood map from the UB Libraries site.
Looking at his blog later in the day, I found his stories about the Roosevelt Inaugural Site and the Lower West Side. The comments on his blog are interesting, especially those from locals and expats. I’m sure BR readers will have much to add.
In terms of “ethnic succession” on the Lower West Side, locals know there are pockets of Somalian and Burmese immigrants that are taking up space as the newest ethnic groups in this still predominately Latino community, but I liked Chan’s snapshot.
The visit to Buffalo came about because Chan is soon to take a new assignment, and his boss told him to get out for a week or two to cover different parts of New York he’s never been to. He said he wanted to make a stop on Buffalo’s Lower West Side because he didn’t have a Lower West Side to report on in New York.
The majority of our discussion had nothing to do with Buffalo, revolving around a question he asked me about my opinion of the difference between journalism, blogging, and this hybrid online journalism that we each felt was pushed to new levels due to the economy. I’ll spare you the details, but like all print journalists getting their feet wet in electronic media, Chan feels the subtle shift, still relying on the basic tenets of journalism. Frankly, I wouldn’t call this bureau chief of a blog a blogger.
And I’m glad his boss set him on the road to Buffalo.