Is msnbc.com painting a picture of Elkhart that is too bleak?

That’s the contention of some Elkhart Project followers on Facebook, who feel that the portrayal of the economically hard-hit city so far has been too harsh, reports Mike Brunker, left, projects team editor for msnbc.com, which is doing an in-depth look at Elkhart’s economy.

Here are a couple of the comments from his posting on www.newsvine.com:

“Frankly, as an Elkhart resident, homeowner and worker who is prospering, I find the doom and gloom massively over the edge,” wrote Patti Andrews. “It as if MSNBC wants to see this town fail and turn into a ghost town.”

And Jennifer Holderread asked us to “start showing those of us who are still working, struggling, and paying for all of those who are not! … Yeah Elkhart is in a very bad place right now! But there are a lot of us who are trying to figure out how to bring it back. Start telling those stories!”

Another reader, Tommie Lee, said he thought msnbc.com photographers might be waiting for passing cars to get out of the frame before snapping pictures. “Are you trying to help the situation or find creative ways to make Elkhart look pathetic?” he wrote.

You can read the entire conversation on their Facebook page.   (Requires Facebook registration.)

To answer Tommie’s question, no, we haven’t been waiting for cars to pass before taking photos or otherwise trying to skew the view of the city’s situation. And we have reported a few positive stories, such as self-help groups for unemployed workers  and about individuals and private groups pitching in to help feed hungry kids.

But there’s no denying that we’ve spent much of our first month and a half in Elkhart documenting the depths of the economic hardship, simply to help readers elsewhere in the nation understand the challenging situation the city is facing.

We also agree that the time has come to look at some of the positive stories that we’ve encountered there. That’s where you can help.

If you live in Elkhart County or nearby, tell us about the positive stories you see in your community. If you know of individuals or businesses that are rising to meet the challenge or charting new paths toward a brighter future, we want to hear about them.

And if you live elsewhere, let us know what’s happening in your community to respond to the recession. Is there a lesson there for Elkhart?