Friday, May 05, 2006

Aly Colon, Poynteronline

I recently discovered and wrote of a fascinating site called Poynteronline .

This article by Aly Colon is an interesting one, especially in the wake of Stephen Colbert's criticism of the media.

Aly subtitle 'What's Our Message?' with 'Lessons on journalism from a San Antonion cab driver'.

He opens with 'I like talking to cab drivers. I learn where they're from. I find out what they think of the city and its people. I ask their views of the local news media. And I get their opinion of journalism in general. Sometimes I get their names in case I want to follow up with them.

During my travels, I've encountered cab drivers with a wide range of experiences and opinions. I talked to a New York City cab driver from Algeria who felt that the news media unfairly stereotypes Arabs. I spoke to a Portland, Ore., cab driver who said she was bi-polar and thought the news media sometimes stigmatized mental illness. I listened to a New Jersey cab driver from El Salvador who told me she works three jobs, yet sees characterizations of Latinos as people who don't work hard enough.


Mark J said...

I remember reading an article about New York Cab drivers and how many supposedly "rip off" their customers. As an experiment the media tested a number of NY cab drivers by taking trips from JFK Airport to the Empire State Building. The cab's passengers stated they were from out of town, and had no idea where they were going. In every case the cab drivers took them by the most direct route,and did not overcharge, but ironically almost every cab driver said to their passengers "not to tell drivers they were from out of town", as NYC cab drivers could not be trusted.

Sterotypes and Urban Myths have a life of their own. I prefer to trust people - they seldom let me down :)

woman wandering said...

I'm the same. I caught a lot of taxis in Istanbul and was rarely ripped off ... just a handful of times when I was travelling with guests who had backpacks.

They were some of my favourite people as I needed a taxi to school everyday, and once I destroyed my ankle once and the taxi driver was absolutely stunning in his kindness to me. :)