The perils of being quoted in the media in Charlottesville

Sometimes, it seems that being quoted in the media is more trouble than it’s worth. I’d like to see C-Ville open their stories in a manner similar to The HooK. Transparency hurt nobody.

Take today’s story in the C-Ville Weekly on the area’s home sales –

Mid-year sales in Charlottesville, Albemarle and surrounding counties decreased to 1,882 from 2,267 homes sold at this time last year. That means we’re still in a buyer’s market, but according to CAAR, the real estate pendulum is ever so gently swinging back towards the center.
Yet realtor and real estate blogger Jim Duncan isn’t ready to buy into CAAR’s assessment. “We’re firmly entrenched in a buyer’s market,” says Duncan. “We’re going to know in nine or 12 months where we are today. The market is changing so rapidly that sellers, buyers and realtors, we’re all adjusting.”

If you’re not going to type Realtor in all caps (per trademark), at least use common media practice and capitalize it.  See this story for clarification of my assessment of the local market, and this one expanding on why hindsight will give us the opportunity to better assess today’s market.

So what will a little under $300,000 get you in downtown Charlottesville? According to Duncan, three bedrooms and 1,600 square feet. Plus, thanks to a few acts by boys in baggy white t-shirts, extra police presence.

The brevity, flippancy of the above statement and, to my eye, the appearance that I alluded to the recent spate of attacks is irksome, to say the least. Making light of violence benefits nobody.

Speaking of adjustments, Charlottesville saw a $43,000 jump (18 percent) in mid-year median sales prices to $280,000, its biggest in five years after a $3,500 drop last year. Impressive, sure—until you factor in the spike of lower-priced condo sales in 2006 that helped keep the median price low. Nowadays, condos are sort of a sore subject, what with a glut of them sitting all empty and un-yuppied. “That segment of the market’s getting hammered right now,” says Duncan.

Un-yuppied? I wrote about the condo market earlier this month, but in context of the wider market. I’m not sure that I used the word “hammered” – it’s not one that I would typically use when describing the market, so as to avoid contributing to the culture of fear being propagated by the media.

Seeing a few choice quotes selected to give a story more of a “gotcha” quality is frustrating, particularly when my words are used. Live and learn. That said, after being so lucky to have been quoted a few times in the local media, having only one story that raises my ire isn’t a bad percentage. What a great opportunity to say this – to stay abreast of the Charlottesville area’s real estate market, written about in context and with detailed analysis, please consider subscribing to via RSS or email alerts.

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  1. Waldo Jaquith July 24, 2007 at 10:51

    In C-Ville‘s defense, you may feel obliged to write “REALTOR,” by virtue of your employment, but that won’t keep everybody else from being annoyed by it. Putting a word in all caps in a publication is enormously rare — I’m not sure you’ll find anywhere in the Chicago Manual of Style where that’s recommended. Even acronyms (CIA) are supposed to be set in letters that are something like 75% of the line-height. That’s because WRITING IN ALL CAPS IS SCREAMING, and thus the word REALTOR overwhelms not just the sentence that it’s in, but often the paragraph and, when used repeatedly, the entire page. Good for C-Ville for not doing that.

    Worse still is writing REALTOR®, complete with the trademark registration symbol, over and over again. I’m a REALTOR® You shoud go to a REALTOR® to sell your house because REALTORS® are the only ones with REALTOR® training. To anybody who isn’t a realtor, this looks like said realtor has been brainwashed. After all, it’s not like these people go around writing I had a COCA-COLA® today, which I used to wash down a bunch of FRITO LAY BRAND CORN CHIPS® before I went and watched HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX® That would be insane, right up there with people who write “Kleenex brand tissues” because the big ad in Writers Digest told them to. And, to us non-realtors, it’s no more insane than writing REALTOR® (or, simply, REALTOR).

    I should start insisting that everybody refer to me as WALDO JAQUITH®. 🙂

  2. Jim Duncan July 24, 2007 at 11:03

    I know, I know, I know. I was picking on them; but capitalizing the word would have been nice.

    Incidentally, I noticed that you capitalized “Realtor” the other day. Thanks. 🙂

  3. Stormy July 24, 2007 at 11:43

    Why capitalize realtor? I don’t capitalize priest, waiter, doctor, busboy, mechanic, attorney, head coach. That’s got to be the least of your issues with the article, or at least the quotes you’ve presented here. Shoot Scott Weaver and Cathy Harding an email with your concerns. I’m sure they’ll be happy to listen to you and work with you more in the future.

    The problem I’ve been seeing is publications putting my wife’s words in other people’s mouths. That, and local television reporters/editors cutting pieces that have aired for broadcast on the website. Why would you have a shorter, more edited piece on your website than the one that aired on your broadcast?

  4. Waldo Jaquith July 24, 2007 at 13:29

    Incidentally, I noticed that you capitalized “Realtor” the other day. Thanks.

    Only because it was the first word in the sentence. 🙂