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Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Update: Mayor Ras Baraka Calls Out Media During State of the City


Newark, New Jersey: Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka held his annual State of the City address Tuesday night at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, and called out the media several times during the speech.

"The media likes to perpetuate a narrative of our city that is blanketed in despair and hopelessness with unending violence and barbarism at every turn, but this is not the city I know", said Baraka.

Newark, located within the New York media market, is one of the largest cities in the country without its own daily newspaper or commercial television station. 

The Star-Ledger, which was Newark's only daily newspaper for several decades, moved from the city's Central Ward to Woodbridge, Middlesex County in 2014. News 12 New Jersey, one of the state's only television news stations, is also based in Middlesex County, though it operates a newsroom in Downtown Newark. Baraka called out both news organizations during his speech.

"Despite how terrible they try to make us look, don't ever get confused about how far we have come," Baraka told the crowd at the Victoria Theater. "Don't be fooled by haters, don't be confused by naysayers," he added.

The mayor spoke about a variety of topics, ranging from lead contamination in 30 public schools to the Mary Elizabeth Mahoney Women’s Health and Wellness Center, which is being built on Clinton Avenue, to the Newark Community Economic Development Corporation's Community Storefront program.

"Despite what was said tonight at the Newark SOFTC. Let me go on record by saying I've done SEVERAL positive Stories out of my City", Will Caldwell, a photographer for News 12 New Jersey who attended the event, tweeted following its conclusion. "I was insulted because I go above and beyond to find good stories in Newark so I'm offended by those allegations", he added. Caldwell also tweeted that he had spoken at several Newark schools, including Bard High School Early College, which was referred to by Baraka during his speech.

"The Ledger covers every murder in its coverage area. That's by no means unusual for a local newspaper", tweeted Dan Ivers, a reporter for The Star-Ledger's parent company, NJ Advance Media.

This is not the first time that Mayor Baraka has criticized members of the media. Baraka has spoken against the reporting of David Cruz, a reporter for Newark-based PBS affiliate NJTV, several times.

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