April 2, 2013

I was surprised to see on the March 23 front page a news article about the death of an unelected, unappointed African American resident of the District, Ruby Whitfield [“A beloved guardian, ‘kind and giving’ ”]. Good, I thought: Maybe The Post is finally going to start giving the violent deaths of the city’s black citizens their due.

Within the first few paragraphs, though, we learn that Whitfield, who worked for 44 years at Sidwell Friends School, interacted with Chelsea Clinton when she was a student there. In fact, four paragraphs are dedicated to Clinton, including observations about her character. There is no mention of or comment from any other students about Whitfield’s influence on them during those 4 1 / 2decades.

I began to wonder: Did the coverage of Whitfield’s death get this prominence in The Post because of her association with Clinton? Would her story have “mattered” less, been buried in the Metro section, without the gloss of a famous person?

The Post is both a national and a local paper, and as a 25-year resident of the area and a longtime subscriber, I enjoy both aspects. The paper is accountable to both its local readers and its national and international audience, and it has a good record of bringing to light stories that warrant public attention. So I hope we’ll see an increase in coverage of news and stories about D.C. residents, the paper’s most proximate readers.

Cameron H. Fletcher, Arlington

In its front-page article about the death of Ruby Whitfield, The Post waited until the fourth paragraph to mention Chelsea Clinton. It’s a wonder The Post didn’t lead with Clinton’s thoughts and feelings. Or was the story supposed to be about Whitfield?

Ruby Whitfield’s death is sickening. Her memory and our community would have been better served had The Post focused on her and the high rate of pedestrian deaths in the District. Instead, The Post devoted four paragraphs to a pseudo-celebrity’s tangential relationship to the victim. What a missed opportunity.

Julie Lloyd

and Graydon Forrer, Washington