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Media Circus

Nitkin Picking

By Tom Chalkley | Posted 7/26/2000

Speaking of Dutch Ruppersberger, the Baltimore County executive and gubernatorial wannabe continues to enjoy the loyalty of The Sun's editorialists (Media Circus, 5/31, www.citypaper.com/2000-05-31/media.html)--a fact that has folks in Essex-Middle River (and this columnist) keeping a close eye on the daily's reporting on the controversy over plans to condemn dozens of properties in those communities to make way for upscale development. Alarms went off July 17 when a Sun story on Ruppersberger's meetings with supportive east-siders prominently featured pro-Dutch quotes from Middle River businessperson Randy Cogar but failed to identify Cogar as a Ruppersberger appointee to the county Planning Board.When I caught up with reporter David Nitkin, he was already smarting from neighborhood flak over the omission, which he described as "a bit of a lapse" on his part. "There was absolutely no intent to hide the information," he said, adding that the story did give readers some context for Cogar's position by identifying him and others at the klatches as "hand-picked" by the county. Nitkin also noted that his coverage has brought complaints from the county's executive office, particularly a June 26 story on the exec's seeming avoidance of meetings with grass-roots opponents.

Whether or not it's fallout from the "lapse," Nitkin's reporting does seem to be taking a tougher turn: In a front-page story July 20, he wrote that Ruppersberger "faces a problem of his own making, stemming from a miscalculation" of public reaction to his condemnation plans.

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