I think I’m in love. And before you raise your eyebrows, imagining a juicy local scandal –perhaps I’m having a blistering hot affair with slim-hipped cowboy 20 years my junior or a retired CEO awash in money- let me hasten to add that the object of my affections does not live in Westcliffe.
Furthermore, I have never met this man. Be he young or old, rich or poor, fit or flabby, I don’t care. I have fallen for his writing and his point of view which is professionally detached from partisan politics but passionately involved in presenting the facts and letting his readers draw their own conclusions.
Enough suspense. My guy is John Rodriguez, editor of PULP, Pueblo’s monthly news magazine. Typically when I am in Pueblo, I pick up a copy.
In the case of the May 2017 issue, a yellow and lavender drawing of a bee flying over a yellow honeycomb caught my eye.I looked to see the graphic artist’s name: Mathais Valdez – well done, Mathais! The cover appeals to me mostly because of its superior design, but in addition, I’m reading , a new novel THE BEES (a first novel!) by Laline Paull who writes from inside a hive where she personifies the bees and the drama of finding uncontaminated food and living in close proximity to other bees.
But back to Mr. Rodriguez whose May editorial is titled, “The Last Local Chieftain.” The former owner Robert Rawlings died in March of this year; circulation is half of what it had been; and Rodriguez fears that a non-Pueblo based company may take over and “see the Chieftain as a carcass without much meat.” Rodriguez worries that outside owners will “pick the bones, never letting it [the paper] die but never letting it live either.”
Rodriguez believes that local news is best served by local ownership. Elaborating on his philosophy, Rodriguez wrote that, unlike the Chieftain, he does not want to be an advocacy paper. “As I tell people, the only thing we can do is take you [the reader] right to the cliff edge and let you see out over the vista of an issue, but the moment we give you the slightest push, our credibility is gone. The best we can do is give you a fighting chance to understand what’s going on without opinionating the news.”
Responsible journalism calls for dispassionately reporting the facts and giving both sides of an issue with no commentary. Leave the commentary to the Talking Heads. With FAKE NEWS flying through the air like a host of startled Starlings, measured reporting of the facts and possible options is the answer.