Laura Dimon, who didn’t speak with many Flint residents, says they have “resilience and loyalty [that are] a testament to the true spirit of this city.”
Flint ‘s “story of depression and decay,” as New York journalist Laura Dimon describes it in an online article, is far different from her experience as a child of privilege and wealth.
Dimon, a columnist at a Manhattan digital media start-up called PolicyMic, is one of three daughters of Judith Kent and Jamie Dimon. chairman president and CEO of JPMorgan Chase — one of the “too big to fail” banks. The career-starting Dimon has a 2009 psychology degree from Barnard College and a seven-month-old master’s from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
None of that means she can’t report sensitively and insightfully on Flint — if two-year-old Policy Mic gave writers the time and budget for field reporting. That evidently isn’t how Dimon covers “the hell that has become of much of America’s Rust Belt” for a site that’s much closer to Upworthy and BuzzFeed than to Atlantic Cities or National Journal.
Dimon’s piece about “Detroit’s failing and forsaken neighbor 66 miles to the northwest” is largely a compilation of facts, figures and material published elsewhere — what pre-digital journalists called “a clip job,” referring to clippings from other publications and their paper’s library. The Flint report has 21 external links in just 26 paragraphs, including four each to articles in Forbes and The New York Times.
One of four people quoted is a filmmaker whose comments are from a July 2012 article in Wired. Another is a photographer whose sentence is from a blurb at his online portfolio. The others, an author and another photographer, apparently spoke to Dimon by phone or email.