Our professional journalists don’t know our city. Our newspaper is guilty. All the television stations are guilty. Our "professional" online news outlets, WATE, WBIR, etc. are guilty. WBIR is by far the worst offender. Each of these professional journalism businesses purport "West Knoxville" to be random places that are not downtown or South Knoxville.
Knoxville has a bad case of poor urban planning and sprawl. If you look at Knoxville with a critical eye, and I mean go back and look at the trolley maps, and pay attention to the way schools were laid out, our city’s earlier developers had to believe Knoxville was going to sprawl north. But the people north of Knoxville did not sell their farms. Instead, the people to the west of Knoxville sold and development, and money, built toward the setting sun. Somewhere along the way, some silly "us versus them" started between the westies and the downtownies which continues to this day. Anyone living west is painted as unfairly privileged by the rest of Knoxville; and anyone not west is painted as..well.."not west" but generally downtownies. I believe our news agencies stoke the fires of this west versus everyone else problem. So where exactly is West Knoxville?! WBIR just ran a story about a robbery in West Knoxville that is a 20 minute drive from where I live in West Knoxville. I usually avoid commenting on our local news sites but had to leave this:
Do you have a map that shows the areas of Knoxville? By WBIR’s reports, "West Knoxville" seems to be everything except Gay Street. This Petro’s is practically in Lenoir City. Seems to me that giving a location like "West Knoxville" is supposed to help the reader put the place into their mind but how can we do that when one news report has West Knoxville just North of Alcoa Hwy, another puts West Knoxville at the intersection of Old Kingston Pike and Kingston Pike, another puts West Knoxville in Bearden…West Town Mall..Farragut.
For clarity sake, shouldn’t "West Knoxville" be a little more specific? Heading West on Kingston Pike from Downtown perhaps we need: Downtown -> Campus -> Sequoyah -> Homberg -> Bearden -> West Town -> West Knoxville -> Farragut -> Dixie Lee Junction. Seems to me those are the names that come up in face to face conversations to identify "West Knoxville" specifically.
I’ll start collecting a list of West Knoxville stories and see if we can put together a map.
Update: Here’s a story by Knoxnews where the shootout victims might be in Northwest Knoxville or maybe they are Downtown. See the article’s comments to understand why.