When I went to college in the 1970s to study journalism, covering meetings was among the first things we learned. When we got out of college, we cut our teeth on zoning board and planning board meetings -- indeed, covering a town meant covering every meeting in town. Meanwhile, the seasoned reporters often got the glamorous jobs of covering politics, the county board and other high-profile beats.
So, sprawl was left to the rookies and others still pretty unseasoned. While we did a good job of covering the meetings and reporting on what happened -- the board OK'd a developement, the master plan was amended -- I'm not so sure we really did the best we could do, or perhaps we wouldn't be in this sprawled mess today. We were enamored with the big blueprints (this was before PowerPoint, after all), and overwhelmed with just the idea of getting the details right, that I don't think many of us really understood the impact of what was happening. This was before such terms as "loss of habitat," or mixed use, or even "sprawl" became commonplace.
Oftentimes, this occurred with only a few hardy souls even in the room, besides the board members and developers.
And this was still when we as a society thought that all of this growth and development was a good idea. When the new bunch of homes or the new, big retail center meant money for the town coffers.
So, did journalism create sprawl? Or, perhaps more correctly, did our ignoranance of the issues help foster a climate in which sprawl went unchecked?
Feel free to comment here, or at my Cyburbia blog, where I posted a similar item.