Details missing in story about Mackerel Cove
As a former journalist and Jamestown resident, I was somewhat perplexed by the story last week about an apparent breach of the regulations regarding the repair of the seawall on Mackerel Cove (“State tells property owner to restore coastal-buffer zone”).
Back when I was a newspaperman (granted, it was during the Stone Age), the reporters’ creed was the five “musts” of a good story: who, what, why, when and where.
Oddly, although the apparently extra-legal reconfiguration of the seawall in question is described in some detail (the “what,” “where” and “when” of the matter), the first and foremost of the Ws, the “who,” never made it into the story, nor did the “why.”
Although referred to directly no fewer than a dozen times in the story, headline and accompanying photo caption, those who authorized or carried out the improper activity are never identified, except as the “property owner,” “owners” and “these guys.”
However, the neighbor who brought the matter to the Conservation Commission was identified by name (four times), as was the commission chair (seven or eight times), along with four of the commissioners who weighed in with observations.
Moreover, the property owners’ side of the story – whatever it might be, including their reaction to the allegations and the remedies they will be required to carry out – is not reported. If there is a reason for this, it should be cited. In any event, it is unfortunate that the reader is deprived of relevant information that could be helpful in better understanding about such coastal regulations, and the consequences of their being broached.
Editor’s note: The property owner was contacted by the Press but declined our request for an interview.