Public editor

Rendering of proposed KCI is not a done deal

Updated: 2014-01-05T23:27:55Z

By DEREK DONOVAN

The Kansas City Star

A caller last week was confused by something he was looking at on KansasCity.com, accompanying a story about a group looking to force a public vote over whether to construct a new single-terminal Kansas City International Airport.

“I can’t really figure out this blueprint for the new airport,” he said. “I’m trying to take the measurements and figure out how far I’m going to have to walk from one end to the other.

“Are those planes there (Boeing) 737s or 747s? Because if I know that, I can do a little math and start to measure the size of this thing. (The Star) should include some labels or dimensions, so that people know what they’ll be voting for.”

I understand my caller’s confusion — but he was really putting the cart before the horse.

The image he was looking at (reproduced above) is a preliminary proposal of what the new KCI might look like. Its caption read, “Kansas City aviation officials say conveniences will not be lost and efficiencies will be gained with a single-terminal Kansas City International Airport.”

Another similar rendering with the online story showed a nighttime view, but with a caption clearly identifying it as conceptual.

Coincidentally, reporter Lynn Horsley had contacted me about the image the evening before with her concerns that readers might think the image depicts a fait accompli.

She proposed that any time the renderings are published, they should note that “the actual design has not yet been proposed and any new terminal could look very different.” Good idea.

Libertarian thanks

“Wow, I couldn’t believe I actually saw a story on the front page of the paper recognizing the Kansas Libertarian Party,” said a caller on Jan. 3.

With a laugh, he told me he feels like his compatriots have a reputation for complaining. “But a lot of the time, we have a point. We are marginalized, and I know that’s because of our size.”

He added a question that’s worth pondering: “Don’t you think if we saw more press coverage like this, we’d get our message out to more people who don’t even know we’re here? I think the more people see of us, the more of them realize we’re their actual political home.”

Journalists are generally good about highlighting the struggles many minorities face in society — but I’d argue political minorities don’t enjoy quite the same consideration. (Of course, hate groups shouldn’t be factored into this equation.)

Chicken and egg? Perhaps. But small parties deserve to have their stories told, even if it’s disproportionate to the percentage of the vote they garner.

To reach Derek Donovan, call 816-234-4487 weekday mornings or send email to publiceditor@kcstar.com. Follow him at Twitter.com/KCStarPublic.

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