Shame on you Los Angeles Times newspaper.
On July 14, 2011 you published a story Homeless rate drops 9% in L.A., 3% in L.A. County
I am shocked at the obvious lack of fact checking. Forget real journalism fact checking, your offices are less than a five minute walk from the heart of skid row. Did you even look out a window?
For those who want to read the Times story here is the link:
It will be interesting to see if the above story and link remains online. It is an obvious piece of nonsense on so many levels.
I did a little fact checking myself. I used my own eyes. I counted individuals over the last two years. I talked to the people at Union Rescue Mission ( http://www.urm.org/ ) which is the largest mission in the country.
I used to like aspects of the Los Angeles Times. I am friends with some of their staff. I hope that this reporting did not happen on their watch and hope that an editorial will be published by some of those who are journalists with more integrity.
I have a piece that I wrote after I wrote this piece, something of a companion piece. After I published this post I talked to Andy Bales at Union Rescue Mission. I wrote the companion post which can be seen at:
Today (6/16/11) I received a few direct messages from the Los Angeles Times City Desk. Here is their dialogue and my own:
LATimescitydesk Myles, we were just reporting what was contained in a report by the LA County Homeless Services Authority -- and we reported the skepticism.
LATimescitydesk Not sure why you keep beating up on us. You should contact the LA Homeless Services Authority if you're upset by their findings.
LATimescitydesk I have no fight with you. I just tweeted our report about the report.
My comments back to The Times:
myles111us If you just pass along bad info when the evidence is right outside your window what can I think about that sort of thing?
myles111us I would think somebody like Steve Lopez would have had a comment on what is obviously a report that is nonsense.
myles111us If you have something I can post that shows the accurate picture I will be happy to do so.
myles111us There are some great folks over at The Times and I would love to be able to support you folks rather than come down on you.
myles111us Hopefully there will be a follow up story by The Times and if there is please send me a link.
myles111us The last thing we need is some agency that writes false reports based on a lazy count or taking shortcuts on a critical subject.
myles111us I somehow missed the skepticism you said you mentioned. So did the folks on skid row that work at the missions as a side note.
Good journalism is more than just passing along the stories of others. You folks are a short walk from the heart of skid row.
myles111us I cannot see why you did not contact the organization who wrote the report and questioned their facts.
LATimescitydesk You should send a msg to Alexandra Zavis, who covers homelessness for us, and tell her your thoughts. firstname.lastname@example.org
LATimescitydesk She's a very thoughtful reporter, cares deeply about the subject and has written some fine pieces.
myles111us I will contact her. If she has a twitter account I can send her the link to my two blog pieces or perhaps you can send her the links.
myles111us The links are http://t.co/XSeqQmi and http://t.co/nEKNjS6 I would be happy to take a walk with her sometime in the area.
LATimescitydesk Story, by the way, quotes Andy Bales at URM expressing his doubt about the numbers.
LATimescitydesk Alex wrote the piece in question. Not sure if she has a Twitter account. But I'm sure she'll respond to an email. Take care, Myles.
myles111us Andy Bales gave me the impression that many of the facts he presented were not in the piece.
myles111us I see no mention of Andy Bales in the piece at http://t.co/XSeqQmi (I found some of Andy Bales commentary in a second piece by the times).
myles111us In any case, please pass along my links to Alex
myles111us Nita - no fight with you. The subject is sensitive and heartbreaking and passing along misleading information does not help.
myles111us I look forward to stories from you folks and pass them along on a regular basis as a side note.
myles111us The homeless issue is just something I take seriously just as I take reporting about the economy, employment and justice.
myles111us Hopefully in the future we can work together in concert to make changes for the better and report both sides of a story.
myles111us Thank you for your time - Myles S. Rose
I was told there was an update to the first story. My original issue was with the original story which had the title: Homeless rate drops 9% in L.A., 3% in L.A. County which I found impossible to believe from personal observation.
The second piece can be found at:
This update sheds a better light on the subject.
Perhaps with the help of the Los Angeles Times resources can be coordinated to make progress at a faster rate. The problem is getting larger at a faster rate each month.
I am glad I wrote this piece. It has introduced me to some additional folks at the Los Angeles Times. This opened a dialogue between a number of people that have enough of the right stuff that could make steps forward for the benefit of many.