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City of Heartbreak and Hope: Viewer responses

Following the broadcast of our Dateline special about Detroit, “America Now: City of Heartbreak and Hope,” hundreds of viewers wrote in. Read a sample of their comments, both positive and critical, here.
/ Source: Dateline NBC

Following the broadcast of our Dateline special about Detroit, “America Now: City of Heartbreak and Hope,” hundreds of viewers have written in. Read below for a selection of their comments, both positive and critical. The vast majority of emails are about Cordette Grantling, the woman we profiled who takes in children abandoned by their parents. To read the response sent to Dateline NBC from Detroit Mayor Dave Bing's communications director, click here.

Here’s a sampling of what viewers have to say about Cordette (viewers' names are in parentheses following their quotes):

“Her life is an inspiration.” (Lee Ann)

“She is an inspiration to me to keep on keeping on.” (Patricia)

“I was inspired by her determination.” (Karen)

“I was born and raised in Detroit, she symbolizes why I haven’t left.  The spirit of the people here can’t be compromised.” (Melissa)

“Cordette is an inspiration – people like her are rare – instead of becoming a statistic and part of the vicious cycle that sadly exists, she’s working to better her family.” (Brandi)

“My mother saw Dateline NBC focusing on Detroit tonight and she was awestruck by Cordette Grantling.  Her faith and love for both the community and the children she takes under wing are inspiring.” (David)

“I am originally from Detroit and Cordette’s story really inspired me.  The fact that she takes in children to help them, when she is barely scraping to get by, truly speaks to her character.” (Marissa)

“Her struggle to educate her children and keep them on the right path is admirable.” (Ed)

“I was extremely touched by Cordette Grantling and her amazing story of hope and take care of forgotten children.  She is a true inspiration.” (Kristin)

Many who wrote in say they found the story eye-opening:

“Thank you for shining a light on Detroit. It is a city filled with good people during hard times.” (Debra)

“I enjoyed the dateline show about Detroit… Bottom line for me is the millions and billions we send overseas, then you see a city like Detroit and how they need our help.” (Bud)

“As usual, your report (on Detroit) was excellent….what a sad state of affairs in a once great city.” (Bob)

“thank you, Mr Hansen, for the wonderful coverage about Detroit.  Like you, I grew up there, …. Detroit is indeed a mixture of despair and hope.  The rest of the nation needs to know about it.” (William)

“We appreciated the honest reporting on the overwhelming challenges facing the largest city in our home state.   Fixing the problem will take time, courage, integrity in city government leadership and the perseverance of caring/inspiration individuals like Cordette. (D. and D.C.)

“Thank you for featuring the hope an story of Detroit for all of us who call this home. … How could this vibrant city decline to such a point…? Good luck to the leaders who dedicate their lives to turn this city around…. I hope in my lifetime it can regain the potential safety and beauty it so deserves.” (Mary)

“Thank you for the soul-searching, heart-breaking and yes, hopefilled broadcast on Detroit tonight.” (Joyce)

“I thought the story on Detroit last night was accurate and very well done.  However, perhaps because of time constraints, there was really nothing in the story that showed any of the ‘positives’ of the city such as the rabid sports town that Detroit is, the Fox Theatre District; Greektown, the Casinos; the riverfront…  I hope there will be a follow-up to the presentation.  Nice job!” (Steven)

We also received a smaller number of emails from viewers critical of the story:

“We thought there would be more balance considering it was told by one of the area’s ‘native sons;’ –a so-called ‘home-boy.’  Alas we were wrong.  Instead what we and millions other Detroiters and Detroit ex-pats witnessed last night was one-sided parachute journalism… journalism that took slices of lives of some Detroiters and dispensed them as wholesale truths to the world”  (D.P)

“What about all of the good things that happen in Detroit.  Our unbelievable sports teams, the waterfront, Campus Martius Park, Belle Isle, The Martha Scripps Conservatory, the thousands of people that work downtown, Eastern Market, Greektown, our 3 Casinos and I could go on and on.  Thank You Dateline for making sure that no one will come to visit the city where I was raised…” (Eileen)

“What was the purpose of this presentation? …Is it your intent to communicate to the world, that there is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING positive going on Detroit?” (O.B.)

“If the plan was to enlighten the world about Detroit and its residents, I’m not sure your mission was accomplished.  What you showed only reinforced what I think most people outside of the city already believe.  You had a chance to be balanced, but instead, provided mostly ‘heartbreak’ without much hope.” (Tami)

“Your Dateline this week, only showed the blight, & ugliness of Detroit.  But what about our downtown? How about the new Tiger fields,& Ford field home of the Det. Lions.  We have greatest sports fans in the world.  How come you didn’t show how Detroit is trying to come together.” (Denise)