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10 things PBS missed in ‘hit piece’ about Dayton

What FRONTLINE left out about Dayton in new documentary some have likened to ‘poverty porn.’

FRONTLINE and  its partners at ProPublica had a lot of things correct in acclaimed 

reporter Alec MacGillis’ new piece “Left Behind America.”

Poverty and hunger are a major issue here. 

>>  RELATED: COMMENTARY: Get off Dayton’s back 

One in 6 people in Montgomery, Greene, and Preble counties do not know where their next meal will come from, according to the The Dayton Foodbank. 

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The national opioid crisis has destroyed far too many local families. 

Our streets bear the scars of the great recession in the form of abandoned storefronts and decaying homes. 

>>RELATED:  What you thought about Frontline portraying Dayton as city left behind

A deep racial divide still looms over a community still dealing with the effects of the great recession and NCR’s decision to  jump ship for Atlanta in 2009, taking with it hundreds and hundreds of good paying jobs. 

Things are far from perfect in Dayton or its surrounding communities (the smaller local municipalities MacGillis oddly sliced from the discussion about a topic impacting the Dayton region), but things are far from as bleak as portrayed in MacGillis’ 60-minute profile “of one Rust Belt city’s struggle to recover in the post-recession economy.” 

 Some have called the piece a “hit piece” or “poverty porn,” and it drew ire from many — Holly Allen of the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce included.

>> RELATED: Frontline’s depressing documentary draws chamber response: ‘Dayton is experiencing a renaissance’

We couldn’t include everything. But here are some key omissions:

1) THE SHOW FAILED TO ACKNOWLEDGE DAYTON’S ONGOING INNOVATION

Les McFawn, director of the Wright Brothers Institute, left, and Jim Masonbrink, director of the Small Business Hub at the Wright Brothers Institute, are excited about plans for the new small business hub at 444 E. Second St. THOMAS GNAU/DAYTON (Staff Writer)

The documentary devoted large chunks to Dayton’s past as the Silicon Valley of its day, but aside for a few seconds, overlooked the innovation happening today related to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, the state’s largest single site employer. 

The GE Aviation EPISCenter in Dayton researches electrical power in aviation uses. It employs about 335 GE Aviation employees in Vandalia and about 1,600 total employees at three Dayton-area sites — including Unison Industries Dayton in Beavercreek and TDI-GE Aviation, also in Vandalia.

In March, the Air Force Research Laboratory and Wright Brothers Institute signed a lease for the “innovation district” on Second Street. 

>> RELATED: New downtown Air Force office part of emerging ‘innovation district’

 In terms of innovation, we can go on and on. 

2) THE SHOW FAILED TO REFLECT DAYTON’S CAN-DO SPIRIT 

The Gem City Market and its mission to address Dayton’s food deserts with its people deserves more than a brief mention. 

Launched in 2015, The Greater Dayton Union Co-op Initiative is about 40 percent toward its $4.2 million capital campaign goal for the co-op market.

The community’s spirit also helped propel the Fifth Street Brewpub, a tavern that has helped revitalize Dayton’s St. Anne's Hill  neighborhood and is why Dayton has a brand new outdoor concert venue Levitt Pavilion. 

Friends of Levitt Pavilion Dayton raised $5 million for the pavilion that offers free concerts in about two years for the efforts. 

>> Everything you need to know to make the most of your Levitt Pavilion experience

>> RELATED: Get to know the Best of Dayton 

3) THE SHOW FAILED TO RECOGNIZE DAYTON’S TENACITY  

The Downtown Browns are made up of Lisa Scott of Beaute Box Lashes Dayton; Jasmine Brown of De’Lish Cafe, Kate Rivers of Twist Cupcakery and Juanita Darden-Jones of Third Perk Coffeehouse & Wine Bar.

You can see it at work all over the community from Juanita Darden-Jones at Third Perk Coffeehouse and Wine Bar to the work Joshua Brown and Tony Clark are doing at DK Effect in Dayton’s Huffman neighborhood, to  Sofi Kinde’s work at Nanya Café  in Harrison Twp.  to the Castros at El Meson in West Carrollton to Emma Smales at Smales Pretzel Bakery in Twin Towers. 

That’s just people in food and beverage. 

>> Smales gets brand new sign with GIANT pretzel 

 

4) THE SHOW FAILED TO SEE DAYTON’S HEART 

A worker tends to children at United Rehabilitation Services. (Amelia Robinson)

You see it in the work being done by the East End Community Center and by Yvette Kelly-Field  at Wesley Community Center; the commitment to the community exhibited by workers at United Rehabilitation Service, the Rubi Girls; The Dayton Foodbank, the House of BreadOne Bistro, the Wright-Dunbar neighborhood... on and on and on. 

>> Three things you really ought to know about The Rubi Girls

5)  THE SHOW FAILED TO SEE THE TRANSFORMATIVE BEAUTY OF DAYTON’S ART

 

On Friday, July 6, Dayton Visual Arts Center hosts an opening reception for the DP&L Foundation’s annual open members exhibition, The Light Within, which is on display through Aug. 11. CONTRIBUTED (Contributing Writer)

The Dayton Contemporary Dance Company is world-renowned. The Dayton Art Institute is consistently bringing interesting new exhibits. Dayton Visual Arts Center provides “art for the community and a community for artists.” K12 & TEJAS Gallery support young and young-and-heart artists.

Murals created by a list of artists that include Tiffany Clark and her partner Christopher "Etch" Weyrich of the Mural Machine and Morris Howard  and  Brittini Long, Montgomery County Juvenile Court’s Reclaiming Futures Community Engagement Coordinator are transforming rundown structures into pieces of art. 

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This is not to mention the growth of the arts community in the Front Street Buildings and other part of the area being dubbed the East Dayton Arts District or the performing arts showcased at the Schuster Center, Victoria Theatre and Dayton’s community theaters.

There’s the Dayton Opera, the Dayton Philharmonic, the Dayton Ballet and Dayton Poetry SlamBlack Box theater and  Robert and Lucy “Sierra Leone” Owens , a  2018 Ohio Governor’s Award recipients. 

>> RELATED: Why this woman wants part of East Dayton branded to reflect one of its biggest strengths

6) THE SHOW MISSED THE STORY OF GROWTH OF DOWNTOWN DAYTON 

A sampling of businesses that moved to downtown Dayton in 2017.

Little more than a sentence is given to the fact that once-abandoned buildings are now filled by business as if it is nothing. 

The occupancy rate for apartments in downtown Dayton is 97.3 percent, according to the Downtown Dayton Partnership. 

Since 2010, two years after the 2008 recession, more than $1.13 billion has been invested in downtown Dayton, according to the Greater Downtown Dayton Plan.  

CareSource and a long list of bars, breweries and restaurants have invested big time in downtown and its surrounding historic neighborhoods. Last year alone, the list included Mudlick Tap HouseLock 27 Brewing 416 DinerCanal Street Arcade and DeliAgnes & Orson and Puff Apothecary.

>> MAP: Here are all the new businesses that came to downtown Dayton last year

Brand new housing options include Monument Walk, Delco Loft and The Wheelhouse. 

>> 3 brand spanking new places to live in downtown Dayton

They join a long list of amenities Fifth Third Field with the attendance-record breaking Dayton Dragons  and RiverScape MetroPark. RiverScape opened its $4 million RiverScape River Run just a year ago.  

>> RiverScape to be complete with grand opening of river run

7) THE SHOW OVERLOOKED HOW WELCOMING DAYTON REALLY IS 

The 45th year for ‘A World A’Fair’, organized by the Dayton International Festival, Inc., took place at the Dayton Convention Center on May 18th, 19th and 20th. This year, a total of 34 countries and ethnicities took part in the the “largest international festival in Ohio," either by making authentic cultural cuisine, performing on stage or presenting their own heritage in a colorful and authentic way. PHOTO / TOM GILLIAM PHOTOGRAPHY (Tom Gilliam)

You see this in this not only in the Welcome to Dayton immigrant program, but also in our many ethnic and harvest festivals, fundraising galas and community engagement organizations and programs like UpDayton, the Longest Table; TedXDayton  and PechaKucha and the Dayton Region’s Walk of Fame.  

>> This year’s TEDxDayton speakers include a Tony-winning Broadway actress, radio personality

8) THE SHOW MISSED THE EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES HERE

Sisters Kyler Turner, left, and Kiara Turner are graduating from The University of Dayton with degrees in early childhood education on Sunday. Their college education path started at the University of Cincinnati, then two years at Sinclair before their final two years at UD. TY GREENLEES / STAFF (Staff Writer)

The Miami Valley is strong with institutions of higher learning. Just consider University of DaytonWright State UniversityWilberforce University and Central State UniversitySinclair Community College offers one of the lowest tuition rates in the state.

FRONTLINE overlooked the fact that Dayton supports a brand new state-of-the-art library downtown.

>>  RELATED: UD, Sinclair proposing combined nursing program

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9) THE SHOW MISSED OUR COMMITMENT TO LEARNING FROM OUR HISTORY OF INNOVATION 

The National Museum of the United States Air Force was founded in 1917 and has grown into one of the Dayton area's biggest attractions.

The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force attracts more than 1 million visitors each. You can spend a week at Dayton History at Carillon Park (which now is officially a national Wright Brothers historical site) and the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park’s sites including The Paul Laurence Dunbar House and the Wright Cycle Community Building. 

10) THE SHOW MISSED DAYTON 

Dayton is far more than a “fill in the blank,” rust belt city.

Its people are also very forgiving.  

 

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