Reporters seldom become friends with the people we cover or profile. We might respect them, especially when we seek them out for expertise. We might find their enterprise important or exciting. We might become acquaintances, but I would say friendships between journalists and the people we write about are rare.
It’s more likely that we admire the people we write about — and I mean, the doers and dreamers, the women and men who make a difference, who seem almost completely selfless in their approach to the work they do, the causes they undertake.
I don’t think Matthew King was completely selfless in his work in Harlem Park — he wanted to develop property and make a living in real estate and finance — but he also wanted to see his West Baltimore neighborhood in renaissance. And that’s what he worked at, reestablishing the Harlem Park Community Development Corporation and setting about to make things happen.
I had been getting to know Matthew, wrote columns about his efforts, and thought maybe — maybe — he could move the big boulders standing in the way of progress in Harlem Park. I admired his ambition. So did many others. Baltimore, this troubled old metropolis, needs doers and dreamers and can’t afford to lose even one.