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SHABBY REPORTING: McKees Rocks reputation takes extra hits with careless coverage

A Lawrence County couple was caught on CCTV participating in the Jan. 6 protests on the U.S. Capitol.

By Editorial Board


McKees Rocks regularly finds itself named and shamed by bloggers seizing on its state-topping per capita crime rates. Its local school district has spent more than two-thirds of its existence on the state’s underperforming school chart. It makes news for shootings at its one and only strip joint.

What’s that? McKees Rocks only has one strip club?

Yes, Club Erotica is the only strip joint in the town of McKees Rocks. True Diamonds, the other place often associated with shootings and with McKees Rocks, is in Stowe Township.

It’s not your fault if you didn’t realize that.

Slapdash reporting by Pittsburgh media outlets, both print and broadcast, often report any incident in the 15136 mailing ZIP code as happening in McKees Rocks. So when a dancer at True Diamonds was shot and killed as she exited the Stowe Township venue after work, some outlets reported it errantly.

Just last week, Stowe police and State Police Liquor Enforcement executed a search warrant at True Diamonds for the operation of an "illegal speakeasy." Police seized 4.5 gallons of beer, 48.3 liters of liquor and wine, and $1,025 in cash. Area media latched on placing the strip club location in McKees Rocks even though Stowe police assisted.

It’s not the first time and it won’t be the last.

Recently, two Lawrence County residents were arrested and charged with breaching the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6 protests. But reporters honed in on the address given for their cleaning company — a worn-down residential unit on Broadway Avenue in Stowe just one block from the Kennedy Township line.

While external appearances suggest this building functions purely to provide a physical address for the business, editors at the Post-Gazette and Tribune-Review thought it pertinent to draw attention to “McKees Rocks business owners” in their unflattering headlines.

Former McKees Rocks councilperson Maribeth Taylor finds such inaccuracies in reporting to be irritating. She recently took her complaints to social media, stating stories wrongly attributing bad news to McKees Rocks is a frustrating contributor to the town’s rough reputation.

We agree. McKees Rocks has enough of its own newsworthy trouble without adding to it by including the name of McKees Rocks in stories that have nothing to do with the town, and we call on the media to a better job of ensuring they’re not wrongly painting a community with a brush of negative news by sloppy reporting on the location of incidents.

Other nearby towns would likely rush to correct it if their feel-good news stories were falsely attributed to McKees Rocks, but they’re in no rush to fix it when bad news doesn’t rightfully land on their doorstep.

Many things, including visionary leadership and attractive investment, have to happen for McKees Rocks to truly start to thrive but having bad news unduly piled upon the town makes attracting such leadership and investment difficult.

Get it right, news media.

These kinds of mistakes have consequences for others.


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