New York Times reporter says it was not her intention ‘to upset residents of Sunderland’

New York Times Sunderland Brexit article
New York Times Sunderland Brexit article
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New York Times reporter Kimiko De Freytas-Tamura today apologised for the upset and anger her portrayal of Sunderland had caused.

Speaking from the Times’ London bureau, she said she was sorry if her article had angered the city’s residents.

Council Royal Supplement

FILE PIC

Date: 23/07/2009   Photographer: DA    
STOCK - ECHO 24 BUILDING, WEST WEAR STREET, SUNDERLAND AT SUNSET... Wearmouth Bridge

Council Royal Supplement FILE PIC Date: 23/07/2009 Photographer: DA STOCK - ECHO 24 BUILDING, WEST WEAR STREET, SUNDERLAND AT SUNSET... Wearmouth Bridge

She said she had written the article in good faith to try find out why the city voted to leave the EU.

She added: “My intention was not to upset residents of Sunderland nor to paint it in bad light; it was to understand why people overwhelmingly voted Leave when its economy seems to be tied to Nissan, the largest employer in the region, and EU funding.

“What I discovered was there were a lot of people who felt, despite those benefits, that they were being left behind by globalization, by mainstream political parties, and a city still feeling the effects of Thatcher’s policies.

“They had nothing to lose by voting out because they had nothing to gain from globalisation in the first place -- that was the sentiment I was aiming to capture.

I chose Washington because it’s where a lot of Leave voters live, and I described it in good faith. To me, that was the epicentre of the Leave vote.

New York Times reporter Kimiko De Freytas-Tamura

“I chose Washington because it’s where a lot of Leave voters live, and I described it in good faith. To me, that was the epicentre of the Leave vote.

“I could not have written that it was prosperous and had glittery shops, because that would have been untrue.

“I agree, and mentioned in the article, that the city has sleek modern buildings like the Sunderland Uni campus, Sunderland Software Centre -- which makes it even harder to understand why the city voted out.”

The Echo yesterday called on the influential paper to offer an apology for its coverage of Sunderland and challenged it to send a reporter back to see all the positive progress on Wearside.

Gavin Foster holds up the Echo front page.

Gavin Foster holds up the Echo front page.

Managing editor Gavin Foster said: “We accept the apology for the anger and the upset caused, but it still doesn’t go far enough. This was never about the arguments or for reasons to leave.

“What we as a city took exception with was the selective and biased way the city was portrayed and the type of language and vocabulary which made it appear we lived in Victorian Britain.

“This is the New York Times - this image of great city will travel around the world. It was inaccurate and irresponsible. We have sent the reporter and the Times a copy of today’s paper and responses from our community.

“We are still asking for a redress and have extended a further invite for a return to the city. We await a response.”

What you said about the New York Times report:

David Harrison: Having being born and bred in Sunderland before moving to York for university, it angered me how NYT had written such an article. Yes Sunderland has its faults but doesn’t everywhere? York was sold as such a historic city that was not riddled with problems, yet is!

Graeme Short: Sunderland isn’t bad, would much rather live here most places in uk . Everything we need is in Sunderland. What more do we need?

Stephen Harrison: I’ve just returned from a week long trip to New York City & although it is a fabulous place I was taken aback by the homeless people, male, female, white & black strewn all over the sidewalks and seemingly dumped by an uncaring society.

David Owen: It’s not an article that paints us in a good light. I also think they targeted the poorer areas of the City specifically to get this reaction. But we need to all realise the truth in that those areas exist and they do have those views.

Phil Warrener: If anyone of us went to New York City with a cameraman, I’m sure we could find some hobos down an Alley to photograph and say the same about New York

Robert E. Bell: The Yanks are so quick to give us advice and interfere because they’re so arrogant and full of themselves. They can learn a lot from us instead of walking round like brainwashed robots. They’re not a country, they are a business.

Sarah Jane Dugan: They shouldn’t have judged the whole of Sunderland on one area they visited, that’s like blaming NYC for one journalists opinions!

I couldn’t care less what they say I love Sunderland, the people here look after each other, we are far from perfect but show me a city that is!!

Liz Gardiner: This is rich coming from one of the worst crime ridden cities in the US. Areas which tourists wouldn’t dare to venture. Dead bodies found in dumpsters, gun crime horrendous. Streets filled with some of the poorest people in the country.

Barbara Bennett: I’m proud to live in Sunderland, I read the article and was disgusted at the portrayal of our city. Some lovely people live here and didn’t deserve the comments made by that obnoxious reporter.