A night in Chester

I spent last night in Chester.

I was invited by Butch Slaughter, who heads up the Chester Made initiative looking to light a spark under the renaissance taking root in the city, for a panel discussion on "Media in Chester." We gathered in the MJ Freed Theater on the Avenue of the State in the middle of the city's downtown.

I have to admit I was a tad apprehensive about the invitation.

Look, I know there are a lot of people who believe that a part of Chester's image problem is the way it is often portrayed in the pages of its daily newspaper. Yes, that would be the newspaper that I edit every day.

Of particular concern is the way - and the events - that land Chester on the front page.

I will be the first to tell you there is some truth is what our critics say.

At the same time, as I said last night, I always urge people to judge the newspaper and website in total.

How so? Take this test, which I actually did yesterday afternoon before heading down to the city.

Go to our website, DelcoTimes.com, type in the word Chester in the search engine. See what comes up.

You will see lots of community news. You will see the story we did last week on the new food initiative rolled out by Chester Eastside Ministry. You will lots of listings from our Friday religion pages. You will see several stories on the new Stormwater fee that is causing so much controversy in the city.

And yes, you will also see crime stories.

We had a great discussion about the media, Chester, and how the two intersect. I was joined on the panel by an old friend, and one of the best things that came out of an experiment we tried several years ago. We offered citizens the opportunity to write blogs. Stefan Roots took us up on the offer - and he's still going strong. You can read his Stefan Roots Blog here. It's always a good read.

Bill Nix once served on one of Community Advisory Panels. He's a lifelong Chester residents with a passion for his city.

And we got some fascinating perspectives from an outsider. Eric 'Brother Shomari' Grimes offered a great look at what sells when it comes to media, and what price we often are making for those decisions.

I thoroughly enjoyed the night.

And I'm looking forward to keeping the discussion going.

Thanks for the invite, Butch.

If you want to see the replay, it's available on the Chester Made Facebook page here.