From The Publisher

September 3, 2018 Edition
BY: CARRIE DUNCAN

This is our anniversary so I have listed some things I’ve learned in my 25 years running this newspaper. You might not think these are biggies, or you might think I should have already known them, and you might even disagree with some of the things I believe I have learned, but I have to believe I’ve somehow bettered myself in what is almost half my life, so I will believe in these:

We walk a tight line. As the town newspaper, we not only have a responsibility for what we write, but we need to take responsibility for what people read, so we can’t mention something that we suspect people will miss read. I’m hesitant to even debunk a rumor for fear of giving that rumor legs. Say there is a rumor that Jim raped Sally. We can announce that Jim did not rape Sally, but many people will read that as Jim raped Sally and just gloss over the rest of the words in the sentence. I have learned that people pretty much believe what they already believed before even picking up the paper.

And we get blamed. Not only do they read incorrectly, but those people will tell someone, “Jim raped Sally, I read it in the Gringo Gazette”.  I know this because I am constantly called to defend what someone read in the GG. Sometimes, the telling is so convoluted I can’t even recognize what story they’re talking about, and sometimes we said the exact opposite. We have even gone over an article with someone who is upset word by word and a light bulb goes off as they agree there is a different meaning there than they thought.

Mexicans don’t share our concerns about their government. They know it’s not perfect, but most of them don’t believe what the American press nor the American State Department says about their country. And it pisses them off.

Mexicans don’t want to hear our criticisms, even when they know they are valid. Fair enough. You know you married an ugly woman, but you’ll use a 2X4 on anyone who points that out to you. It’s human nature not to like criticism from outsiders.

This community newspaper can not move the needle on community issues. Because a newspaper can only raise awareness on an issue. After  that, When the readers know what’s going on,  it’s up to the them to do something about it, and Mexicans are unlikely to do more than whine about an issue on Facebook. A Facebook issue can have 10,000 people weighing in on it, but not one person will show up to protest. So even if we expose an issue, what’s the point?

Mexicans have more power than they think they do. When they do show up to protest, the government does something about it. Like mining. Large demonstrations have shut down mining interests in this state.

Mexicans don’t use the power they have. They could change such big things as water shortages if they protest. We have water, the problem is mismanagement and corruption. Resorts pay off the government to not build the mandatory desal plant, the city fathers steal the money that should keep our municipal desal plant running, water officials do not bother to disconnect illegal water taps, water officials don’t keep the pipes maintained, and on and on.

Mexicans blame the Gringos for inconvenient truths. Last month a town hall meeting of the water agency blamed the resorts for our water shortage. Most Mexicans present at the meeting bought into that.  I heard about it from various Mexicans for days. Like I personally drank an extra glass of water or something.

Mexicans like corruption. When it benefits them, which it often does. Most Mexicans don’t mind paying a cop to forget writing that ticket, and they don’t mind paying bureaucrats to allow them to jump to the front of the line or to get special attention. They say they hate corruption, but they’re quick to participate. And then brag about it. That’s the part that gets me. They are not ashamed.

Some days we can’t please anyone. We get complaint calls on a wide variety of articles, sometimes predicable, but sometimes we get blind sided by complaints we never saw coming.

Sometimes we know it going in, but the issue is important and we just need to take our beating so we publish it. Like on timeshare. In these very pages is an article that’s pretty critical towards a particularly egregious timeshare program. I don’t like that so many people are going to hate on us for it, but a good newspaper doesn’t sugar coat. We will lose an ad over it, no doubt, but we will proceed.

I hope we’re a good newspaper. We’re just a little newspaper in a backwater town. We’re not even a blip on the landscape of worldwide media. Honest to God, most of the time I think nobody’s paying attention. But we need to keep trying to be honest, thorough, and somewhat deep. Ok, somewhat not shallow. Because even if we fail minimal journalistic standards, and fail your expectations, what can we do but keep trying? Maybe not for another 25 years, but at least for as long as we can crank out another issue. Not one issue can come out slipshod, because we really do care about disappointing, especially disappointing ourselves. Hard to believe, with all our critiqers out there, but we are our harshest critics. 

One more. Critiqers is a word if we say it is. Occasionally it’s good to be in this business. We are licensed to create new words.

And possibly good news this issue, we’re not going to bombard you with party fru fru on every page, we’re just going to bring you candid shots of Santiago, who writes the What’s Going On In This Country column.  We can always count on him to celebrate in a grand way.