Aug 22, 2011 Ami Olson Uncategorized
Before the news cycle expanded to 24 hours, government agencies especially knew there was a clever, not-altogether honest way of announcing something controversial without really announcing it: Break the news on a Friday afternoon.
It all but guarantees the story will be old and forgotten about by Monday morning.
As it turned out, it was getting late on Friday afternoon when we first saw the rumors on Twitter, then Facebook, that managerial and administrative changes at Green Hills Market were resulting in local, small-scale food producers getting the boot at the Valley grocery store.
Green Hills, for decades a beloved independent store, has emerged as a key player in launching the local movement here in Syracuse.
Marty Butts, who runs Small Potatoes Marketing and Sales, said the store has become a model of how to support local businesses.
We followed the rumors and reached out to the store and several people who had made comments on social media. But, we got no replies to several of those inquiries, and the responses we did get were rather vague.
(It’s amazing what people will say in a very public platform, like Facebook, but won’t repeat to a journalist.)
As the weekend, and our 8:30 a.m. Monday press time, loomed closer, we had a decision to make: do we report what we have, which is based mostly on rumors, or wait and see what happens?
Waiting would mean the next issue of The Eagle we’d be able to run a story would be Aug. 25, a full two weeks after the first hint of troubles at Green Hills hit our Twitter feed. But waiting would also give us more time to flesh out the story and separate fact from fiction.
We went with printing the story, and posting it online, and here’s why: customers are in an uproar, without any confirmation or denial coming directly from the store, and that is a major part of the story.
The online fervor generated by only a handful of rumors that Green Hills was scaling back its local offerings generated a substantial response, by a variety of people, and that is telling.
If Green Hills is in fact re-evaluating its emphasis on local products, it will directly impact the local entrepreneurs who create and distribute those products, the choices consumers make, and the momentum of the overall local movement in Syracuse. If those changes are not being made, we have a reliable snapshot of what access to locally sourced foods means to people, and the lengths they’re willing to go to maintain support of those products.
We’ll continue to follow the story, and as supporters of local businesses in Syracuse, we hope the rumors are not true.
As always, we want to hear from you on this and any other issue that’s important to you. You can get in touch with the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org, at 434-8889 ext.335 or online at facebook.com/theeaglecny, theeaglecny.com or Twitter (@theeaglecny).
And if you’re in the neighborhood, stop down to Benjamin’s on Franklin, 314 Franklin St., from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 24, and chat with us directly at our first monthly “Meet The Eagle” happy hour event.
Thanks for reading.