Our Opinion: Seeking answers?by Tucson Citizen on May. 16, 2009, under Opinion, Special
For those of you looking to this space for perspective on the Citizen’s demise, for those looking for What It All Means – you are looking in the wrong place. ¶ Excuse us, but we’re a little too close to the situation right now.
Do you ask someone how it feels when a relative dies after a long bout with cancer? After all, we knew the end was coming for months.
But here’s a revelation: When death comes, even if it’s not supposed to be a shock . . . it’s still a shock.
So give us six months, or six years. Then we can provide some context.
Let’s stick, then, to the few points we can make with a sufficient degree of conviction:
• If there’s a way to spin the Citizen’s closure into a positive for Tucson, we’d love to hear it. But one doesn’t exist.
It would be bad enough if we were just any company. But a newspaper is the type of high-salary, knowledge industry, “smart” business that any of the city’s TREOish, economic-development types would love to recruit.
Those of us who have explored Tucson’s, uh, challenging employment environment know we won’t be making anywhere near the money we make now. Bottom line for Tucson: More than five dozen well-paying jobs lost.
But a newspaper isn’t just any company. It’s a repository of the city’s collective memory and of our aspirations and hopes.
Healthy journalism equates with a vibrant city. A dead paper is analogous to the city’s libraries closing – a chilling prospect.
• To all those bloggers and “citizen journalists” who, if you believe the Internet, are this close to reinventing the industry, here’s your opportunity.
Now is your chance to cover never-ending board meetings, make Freedom of Information Act requests to dislodge facts from public officials, call sources – you have cultivated sources, right? – and otherwise do what we in our dying industry like to call “reporting.”
To do it right, you’ll have to work eight to 10 hours a day, five to six days a week.
If it sounds like a job, not a hobby, it is. But don’t expect to get paid; apparently, that business model has been discredited.
We’re rooting for you. Public officials need vigilant scrutiny if our dollars are to be wisely spent and public policies are to be sane and progressive. So good luck with that.
• Finally, frankly, this paper’s closing dissolves a colorful, creative cast of characters the likes of whom you’ll never find in one place again. From sweet Mary Bustamante’s long-time devotion to schools to Dan Buckley’s vivid mariachi videos, from Ryn Gargulinski’s bizarre takes of the macabre to Alan Fischer’s scintillating science coverage, from Steve Rivera and Geoff Grammer’s mastery of Wildcats basketball and high school sports, respectively, to Anthony Gimino’s personal peeks at sports personas, we’ve had it all. And you had it, too.
But not now. With the loss of the Tucson Citizen, everybody in Tucson loses. And that’s a fact. Goodbye.