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Buzzfeed names Youngstown to list of "bleakest places"



Published: Fri, September 20, 2013 @ 12:07 a.m.

By Jamison Cocklin

jcocklin@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

It’s not the city’s greatest ranking to date, nor does it carry the weight of other attention the city has received over the years, but believe it or not, on Thursday, Buzzfeed.com ranked Youngstown No. 9 on its list of “12 of the Bleakest Places on Earth.”

Keep in mind that this is the very same website that delivers its readers regular montages of cats with pictures and videos that detail their quirky behavior.

Although it might border on a tabloid at times, the website delivers hard-hitting news as well.

Its recent success on the Internet meant Thursday’s list and Youngstown’s place on it generated an outpouring of attention on social media.

Writing on his Facebook page, Ohio Rep. Bob Hagan, D-58th of Youngstown, said, “How about we tell Buzzfeed to Buzzoff? They don’t know Ytown like we know Ytown.”

Reached by phone Thursday, Hagan said it was obvious the writer did very little research. He pointed out that the picture Buzzfeed used on its website was years old.

It showed a large, rusting pile of cars at the former Columbia Iron and Metal, a scrapyard that now sits in the shadow of Vallourec Star, which has since spent more than $1 billion on steel and oil and gas pipe-making operations there. Vallourec, a French company, is recognized as a world leader in the manufacture of steel pipe and other goods.

Its Youngstown operations have been deemed crucial to its North American business.

Buzzfeed did mention a positive Forbes ranking and a “new factory making tube goods,” but apparently it failed to realize that facility has since taken the place of the pictured scrap pile.

“These lists are becoming a dime a dozen,” said Youngstown’s Fourth Ward Councilman Mike Ray. “One week we’re rated as a top-10 place for retirees, the next our incubator is ranked among the best in the world. Youngstown is doing good things, and sometimes these lists don’t always take everything into consideration.”

Indeed, Youngstown is a top list-maker.

Its trajectory over the years from one of the country’s leading steelmakers and a mob mainstay, to its population exodus, decline and more recently its transformation and resurgence, have made it a prime target for those looking to compile an eye-alluring list.

Buzzfeed itself noted an unattributed 60 percent drop in population since 1960, which is true according to the U.S. Census Bureau, but the sharp drop started a decade earlier in 1950.

Yet, while the U.S. Census Bureau also recently said Mahoning County still leads Ohio in terms of population loss, some found it disingenuous that the city appeared on a list with others that are incomparable.

Oymyakon, Russia, where temperatures reach below negative 96 degrees, appeared at No. 7, and Trona, Calif., where all but a series of ash processing plants and a dirt football field define the ghost town, appeared at No. 11.

Overlooked was Youngstown’s oil and gas manufacturing supply chain, its ranking at No. 1 earlier this week in export growth nationwide by the Brookings Institution, its job growth at the top of the heap in a state that is faring better than others after the financial crisis and a diversifying economy that has been recognized by various media organizations.

“Buzzfeed ignores recent upward trends and development in #Youngstown,” wrote one Twitter user, while another said, “Whoa Youngstown you made 12 of the Bleakest Places on Earth? Feel like that is a wee bit harsh.”


Comments

1author50(1121 comments)posted 12 months ago

Lists of any kind are overrated.

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2Knightcap(699 comments)posted 12 months ago

When you get an area that continues to vote democrat and vote for the same old same old it gets pretty bleak. Look how many democrats got hauled off to jail over the years. Cities with low information voters is how community organizers can get elected president.

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3YtownSports(228 comments)posted 12 months ago

I'll bet you could find 11 bleaker places just in Ohio.

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4isaac45(267 comments)posted 12 months ago

"low information voters"..a term designed by democrats against republican voters and now co-opted by cons...not even bright enough to come up with their own cliched talking points but man can they repeat them when they get a hold of one...from Drudge in the morning to Limbaugh during the day to Fox News at night to right-wing trolls on the Vindy comment board 24-7...God Bless America and the Valley

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5kensgirl(603 comments)posted 12 months ago

Youngstown went from Camelot to Crime-a-lot. So sad. With the politicians we have today nothing will change. People keep voting these idiots in so they get what they deserve. Too bad the rest of us have to suffer for their poor decision making skills.

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6stateline(69 comments)posted 12 months ago

Youngstown is worse than Detroit.

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7dd933(229 comments)posted 12 months ago

What's really bleak is the contributors on this venue using the words your and you're - there, their and they're incorrectly all the time. How do you expect to be taken seriously if you misuse the language?

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8city_resident(513 comments)posted 12 months ago

Youngstown's presence on this list means I can't take it seriously, regardless of the writer's grammatical errors.

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9dactyl(1 comment)posted 12 months ago

People shouldn't get upset about ANYTHING posted on Buzzfeed.

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10cmrosko(15 comments)posted 12 months ago

Speaking of ratings Buzzfeed has certainly lowered their credibility rating for allowing this idiot author, Tim Chester, to publish this piece on their web site. The author of this article really does have to be and idiot to rate Youngstown Ohio between places like Dhaka, Bangladesh and a small town in a desert in China and a small town in the heart of Russian Siberia. It's also sad to see that there are so many folks who buy into it. The more time I spend on the internet the more I feel like I need to take a shower.

In 2007 the "Places Rated Almanac", the classic book for finding the best places to live in America, rated Youngstown at 142 out of 370 metro areas.

In 2009 Entrepreneur magazine rated Youngstown among the top ten cities in America to start a business.

In 2012 Forbes magazine rated Youngstown as the fourth best city to raise a family among America's top 100 metro areas.

In 2012 the U.S government and a collection of public and private partnerships invested $70 million in developing one of the world's most advanced 3D Additive Manufacturing collaboratives in Youngstown.

In 2013 Forbes listed Youngstown State University as one of America's higher ranking Colleges.

Youngstown is home to one of America's world class American Art museums, The Butler Institue of American Art.

How can anyone in their right mind have an inkling of confidence in this Buzzfeed article and author?

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11prodgodq(150 comments)posted 12 months ago

Remember, the reason for the existence of these lists is to do one thing: Generate website hits.
That's pretty much it.

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