Susan Stabley: Stabley, a reporter for The Charlotte Business Journal, regularly covers the business of the Democratic National Convention, logging in openings for summer interns, deadlines for vendors, awarding of transportation contracts, and important visitors from out of town like Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, the pending chair of the convention .Once in awhile, she gets to write about the fun stuff, like Jon Stewart’s plans to rent a Charlotte library during the convention. She juggles that work with stories on residential real estate, growth, and the environment. Some of her work is behind a pay wall; it’s worth it. Twitter: @CBJGreennews.
Jarvis Holliday: Holliday freelances at many places, now most consistently now at Charlotte Magazine’s “The DNC In The CLT” feature. He logs in the mixers and fundraisers ahead of the convention, acknowledges the out-of-town visitors like Villaraigosa with blog posts and video, keeps people aware of scheduling changes related to the convention, and curates national media stories. He also appears in Creative Loafing of Charlotte at times and maintains his own blog, Grown People Talking. Twitter handle: @hollidayink.
Michael Bitzer: Bitzer, a political science professor at Catawba College in Salisbury, N.C., and not a journalist in the traditional sense, provides analysis at “The Party Line,” allied with WFAE, Charlotte’s NPR station. He focuses on the numbers about voters, presenting wonky but clear maps and charts based on exit-poll data that even go down to the precinct level for Mecklenburg County, where Charlotte is located. For those who are interested in quantitative analysis of election information, Bitzer’s the guy. He’s on Twitter as @catawbapolitics and is well connected there—I learned of Osama bin Laden’s capture from his feed.
This small group varies widely: Bitzer’s focus on precise quantification, presented without opinion, is far removed from the immersive technique of Curtis, who shares her personal insights as a member of the community tackling tough issues. Together, the niches they fill present a fuller picture of Charlotte’s preparation the convention this fall, and of how the city wrestles with national issues.
Charlotte is a big small town (which means yes, I know each one of these journalists personally); it’s sometimes been described as almost too polite. Fionn, the local journalist who shared a byline on Thursday’s HuffPost story, is one of those who challenge that politesse, rightfully focusing on issues that could become invisible if ignored publicly.
But the broad portrayal of Charlotte as a struggling city lags behind the realities of current local economic data (written up by Stabley and others), which show a recovery beginning to take hold. And the idea of a city in conflict is too premature, ignoring Charlotte’s genuine tradition of cooperative problem solving.
During this lull in the presidential action for North Carolina, the narrative might be a little dull without manufactured conflict, but the climax of the story will provide plenty of drama later this year. Those on the ground, slogging through the turns of the screw in business and social events, analyzing the data, and immersing themselves in community forums, help capture Charlotte’s story. Journalists don’t need to invent drama and conflict now. It will come soon enough.