Thursday, October 18, 2012

JNS BLOG EDITORIAL, FROM THE HEART: Julian "Funny Mo" Anderson Is Certified As An Adult In Nizzel George Shooting, JNS Blog Readers Knew His Name MONTHS Ago, What Is The Lesson Here? And How Do We Get To Urban Utopia When The Path Leads Through An Urban Jungle?

Creative stock photo, information wants to be unchained and run free, blog post by John Hoff

A press release was sent out today by the Hennepin County Attorney's Office, announcing the alleged "second shooter" in the murder of Nizzel George had been certified as an adult and his name is Julian Kijuan Lamar Anderson.

Readers of Johnny Northside had the name "Julian Anderson" in a "JNS BLOG SUPER EXCLUSIVE" back on July 6, click here. In fact, this blog went further and found out information about the individuals who appear to be his parents, click here and here and also here. This blog speculated, not without some basis, about a connection between the street name "Mo" and gang involvement, click here. We even located what appears to be video of "Funny Mo" fighting in the street, click here.

Now certified as an adult, Anderson's name is visible on the jail roster, which lists his address as 2609 Colfax Ave. N. Of course, this blog already published THAT information and went so far as to report all the "calls for service" at that address, click here.

What Is The Lesson, Here? Social Media Can Move Mountains

Try as I might...

...I can't find any new information today that wasn't printed on this blog MONTHS ago, except for Julian Anderson's two middle names. But in light of "at long last" official confirmation this blog was right all along, even though no other media was willing to publish the name (until today) I feel the need to say SOMETHING. And perhaps it's this.

This blog does its level best to bring readers useful information not found elsewhere on the internet. However, every one of these stories depended on behind-the-scenes sources who kicked hot information my way. In fact, every day is a struggle just to move valuable information from my email inbox, cell phone and in-person conversations into blog stories. I simply can't keep up with all the good info.

I'm writing this from a bar in a small town, with the laptop I purchased years ago. No editor, no news room, no towering antennae to make television broadcasts. And yet through the use of Blogspot, YouTube and Google document storage, this blog can stand toe-to-toe with the major media and eat their lunch. Other than a lot of formal education, this blogger has no special resources to do what I do. I like to think there's a unique "secret recipe" here at Johnny Northside that makes this blog hot, but the fact is anybody can do what I do.

Well, any decent writer, I should say.

Don Allen of IBNN can't do what I do. Terry Yzaguirre of the Mpls Mirror can't even do what Don Allen can do, and that's just sad, when Don Allen has more English major skills than somebody else. But most people who were placed in Honors Level rather than remedial level English classes in high school can do what I do. Not that I know the educational history of those two and whether they actually have high school diplomas.

How To Get To Urban Utopia 

Where was I? Oh yes. I'm in a quandary, here.

I find myself in a quandary because I want my neighborhood to revitalize, to move upward away from crime and disorder toward tulips, wine and cheese and renovated Victorian era homes. And yet so much of what I write about is crime and disorder. And to some extent, what I write becomes the image of my neighborhood.

I write about crime because journalists are taught "if it bleeds it leads." This is not a cynical saying. It means that if little children are catching stray bullets, that kind of thing ranks higher in terms of "news values" than, for example, a unique neighborhood store just opened. Think about it. If a little child was laying in the street with a fresh bullet hole, as a human being would your attention be directed at the child or the interesting new store behind him?

Yes, young journalistic grasshopper, the main street business association might write you an angry letter to the editor. Shrug it off. If it bleeds it leads. Put the dead child on the front page. What kind of society would put the death of an innocent child higher in news coverage than a store opening? Not a democracy. No, some kind of third world country with a richy rich at the tippy top controlling the media, and impoverished proletarians dying in the street.

Sometimes I receive comments saying, in effect, "Your blog is a realtor's nightmare."

Oh, really? THE UGLY TRUTH is a realtor's nightmare?

Note to (expletive) self.

The problem is not what I write. The problem is we don't have enough people writing about neighborhood soirees, renovation and preservation efforts, new businesses, and all the good things happening in NoMi. Many things are written in Facebook forums, yes, but these forums are not searchable by Google. These private conversations don't bust out into the bigger internet and become part of archived history, part of the public face of this neighborhood.

For the record, I've always made it clear THIS BLOG FOR HIRE. If somebody wants me to write about renovation and neighborhood soirees, the answer is simple. Find a way to hire me. Find a way to pay me, and I don't mean in compliments and free lunches.

When the Northside Marketing Task Force Existed, I made it clear I wanted to help. If somebody pays this blogger as little as FIVE BUCKS to write a story, I duly report it. I believe it's just fine to get paid to write stories, as long as I'm on-the-record about it.

Has it ever been unclear that I am, in fact, a self-interested mercenary? I am aboard the train of neighborhood revitalization because it is the winning side, and I intend to live in North Minneapolis for the rest of my life. The journey of my life has taught me the most effective and powerful people root themselves to one spot, and can be depended upon to be around in the long term. Fate, and not my own  perfectly free will, chose North Minneapolis to be my spot.

I doubt if there's any business entity out there willing to pay Johnny Northside to be Johnny Northside, albeit a less bloody-minded version of myself. History shows I do what I do, and nobody can stop me, so just get on board. Johnny gets the name of a juvenile shooting suspect? Damn right he will publish it, and then he will write about the (suspected) parents.

But I'm still stuck with the quandary. Does the path to Urban Utopia lead through exposure of the ugly, specific truths of the brutal urban jungle? Naming names? Digging deeply into the forces which create juvenile gangs shooting into houses, killing even YOUNGER juveniles?

If It Bleeds It--Oh, Look, Canapes! 

Or should I just ignore the dead kids and write about neighborhood revitalization efforts, so MORE people will want to come here and make this neighborhood better?

For me, the answer is clear. North Minneapolis doesn't get it's "fair share" of media coverage, and so grassroots media efforts like this blog must fill the gap. Applying standard news values, if it bleeds it leads. 

But there's still a missing piece of the puzzle.

If we're ever going to get to Urban Utopia, our journey propelled in great part by the "mountain moving" power of social media, then we need more people writing (in the bigger, Google searchable portion of the internet) about what's going RIGHT in this neighborhood.

Anybody can do what I do. So Please.

Let's do it. 


Anonymous said...

Hey watch it! You'll give jungles a bad name.

I sense a frustration that you don't feel understood or that you feel your efforts are not making the impact you desire. I think what you have done to date is great and has set the groundwork for change in our community. You have become nationally recognized for calling the shots as you see them and no bars reporting.

However, the drama, crime, and exhaustive efforts of good people to improve this community are only the symptoms of a system that is purposely and systematically bent on isolating social problems geographically to the North Side.

Why is it that our community tolerates so much dysfunction?

When is the last time you saw cops respond to an out of control house party and make arrests for public intoxication or arrest those leaving for DUI?

Why is it that police don't immediately report domestic abuse to social services when it is obvious that small children are involved?

Why is it that slumlords are getting rich off substandard rentals that section 8 has set absurdly high reimbursements for.

Why does it take City inspectors 2-3 weeks to investigate 311 complaints?

Why have most of our residents given up on calling 911 or even the hope of a normal lifestyle in our neighborhoods where they don't always have to watchful of thugs.

This isn't about income, race, or educational level. We all have the capacity to be good citizens. It is about a system that tolerates dysfunction in our community that it would not permit in the suburbs.

Until you take on the system that creates these disparates all the print in the world wont make a difference.

Naysayer said...

Evidently, you are not entirely clear on your journalist destiny, JNS. NoMi is-as-it-is, not as-we-wish, and your place on the reporting food-chain is securely nailed-down with no worthy competition. You (and your readership) would quickly wither on the vine, if you crossed-over to reporting on light- rather than the dark-side of life, even if there were enough gentrification news.

You are clearly deluding yourself, if you think anyone else can do what you do. I can't imagine anyone else with sufficient--I think the word I want is--chutzpah to really rip the covers off and expose to the harsh light of one's computer screen the details of the ugly side life in the forsaken part of the big city.

Before you get too excited about Urban Utopia in NoMi, remember that you are going to have to find a place to put all the "non-gentrifiable". They don't just get scattered to the four winds, which is the naive view. Since building "ghettos in the sky" in the heart of the city is out of fashion presently, some other, less densely populated location will have to be found, where increased blight and sharply declining property values will be tolerated. Perhaps, a banlieue along the North Star commuter line might serve as the new cordon sanitaire, if your vision is to be realized.

Johnny Northside! said...

There is, in fact, more than enough news about REVITALIZATION to fill this blog every day.

And, no, I really don't need to figure out where all the criminals should go. The criminals can figure that out on their own, and for most I imagine it involves a bus ticket the hell back to Chicago.