Now that the sentencing of confessed child molester Louis Neal "Skip" ReVille is over with, perhaps the media in Charleston can move on to more pressing concerns.
While the ReVille case is certainly newsworthy — and many of the details are tragic — was it worthy of the sort of instantaneous and near-endless coverage that it has received in the last year? Did we need five reporters live tweeting the events of the ReVille hearing? Granted, there is no way to diminish the impact that this case has had on the lives of many people in the area, and on many of its institutions, but the manic overdrive of the media on this matter is incredibly revealing of what is not being covered by local news with the same sort of attention to detail.
For instance, there is the matter of the Gaillard Auditorium renovation, which passed the Board of Architectural Review with flying colors and now awaits a vote from City Council. In case you weren't aware, Mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr. intends for half of the project's estimated $142 million budget to come from somewhere other than the city's coffers. It is hard to say where that money will come from, although private donations are a likely source, and it is uncertain how much money has been pledged to date or what will happen if the money does not materialize in its entirety. Perhaps, like a failed Kickstarter project, none of the financiers will lose their money, but the city will need to scramble to find another $71 million dollars to finish the renovations to the aging multipurpose auditorium. It would be useful to have reporters live tweeting about that for a change.
Or perhaps we could find out why, even though there is public displeasure with the idea of Yet Another Towne Centre of big box stores (across the street from Towne Centre, no less), Mt. Pleasant Town Council recently voted to do away with zoning restrictions on large buildings placed on relatively small parcels of land. Not, according to Mt. Pleasant Mayor Billy Swails, that it has anything to do with the proposed development on the Gregg Tract, which just happens to be a size that would now be legal to develop for large commercial buildings.
Maybe we could even question why, in an age where big box stores seem to be more and more outdated, any developer would even want to drop another set of them in an already crowded area. But to properly do that, we would need to know the details about the Mt. Pleasant Town Council meeting in which this matter was discussed.
Is it really OK that so many of us can now, and in great detail, go over the many aspects of the ReVille case when we aren't even certain what our leaders in town, county, and state governments are doing?
Speaking of the state government, apparently they just got the memo last week that it might actually be a bad thing for members of the legislature to be actively employed by companies with business in front of the body. Imagine that. Perhaps an intrepid reporter could break away from the next missing persons case for 10 minutes to ask a few questions about potential corruption at the Statehouse?
I do not consider myself to be out of touch with the news in any way, but I honestly could not tell you the names of more than one or two members of the local governing bodies — not counting mayors. I would like to think that the local media does a fabulous job of reporting these matters and I'm just preoccupied with lesser things. I'd like to think that I am just missing something instead of something being missing.
Mat Catastrophe has a communications degree that many argue he still doesn't use. He lives in Mt. Pleasant.