Dear Editor of the Woburn (MA) Advocate:
As one of three (not two) hosts of the 1947project Crime Bus Tour savaged by Jon Hartmere in your pages recently, I'd like to ask why he felt compelled to so thoroughly fictionalize his experience while maintaining the pretense of reportage? The tour guides were myself (Kim Cooper), Nathan Marsak and Larry Harnisch, and we have the reasonable expectation that anyone who rides along on our tour with the intent of reporting on it would call us by name, and not conflate the three of us into “Ned and Jane.” The L.A. Times, Fox News and CBS News reporters on the bus all followed that basic journalistic rule.
Perhaps his last minute gift of the seat (on the weekend's second sold-out bus) precluded his doing any research. Had he made a cursory web search, he would have discovered that the Crime Bus was developed by the bloggers at 1947project, a popular website that revives forgotten L.A. crimes of that year and pays visits to their scenes today, with side trips into subjects of historic preservation, local weirdness and yes, neon signage. These subjects are all familiar to and enjoyed by our readers, and the other passengers on Jon’s bus are already clamoring to attend the next tour.
The 1947project Crime Bus Tour exists for a very different audience than your reporter. Our riders know who James Ellroy is, are excited to explore unfamiliar neighborhoods, and could care less about visiting a recent, familiar crime scene like O.J. Simpson’s or the Menendez Brothers’. We wish he had asked a few questions before accepting the extra seat his friends offered, because there were a dozen people on the waiting list who would have loved to have his spot.