I have taken it upon myself to wage a campaign against carpet bagging reporters, flying in to our paradise to take up residency with new, pricey jobs with the growing online news industry here in town. When Voice of San Diego announced recently that they were hiring three reporters from out of town, I gave them all kinds of hell.
Why, I asked, would you hire someone from out of town when we have all kinds of good and decent and knowledgeable reporters and journalists right here in good ol’ San Diego? New reporters come in, knowing nothing about our history, the players, the scandals, what’s going on, and have to take months just to catch up. The Union-Tribune itself has laid off all kinds of journalists over the last year, and I’m certain many of them would be happy to move to online news production and writing.
Not to mention that the OB Rag has some excellent, experienced bloggers ourselves.
But Voice of San Diego would not listen to reason. They hired their “award-winning” newbies just the same.
Now, about ten days ago, San Diego City Beat announced that they too would be hiring an out of town replacement for Eric Wolff, one of their writing guys. I hurried to their comments section, and gave them hell too. Although, I never used the terms “carpetbagger”, “know-nothing”, or “corporate hack”, at least City Beat showed they have a sense of humor.
Their new guy, David Maass, fired off an email to me, saying he would see my comments as a challenge. I assured him that none of it was personal. We discussed having coffee together sometime soon to discuss all this. Here’s what the new guy emailed me:
Dave Maass here, the new staff writer for CityBeat. I saw your comment on the blog post welcoming me to San Diego and I thought I’d respond personally.
I understand the need to remain loyal to local enterprises (whether that’s farmers, businesses or enterprising journalists) I’d like to point out that while I’m not a San Diego native I am a dedicated regional journalism. Many of the larger-picture issues facing California also face the rest of the Southwest: Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and I’ve worked in all three. Furthermore, if newspapers only hired locally, I’d be stuck perpetually in the god-forsaken sprawl of Phoenix. Take pity on me, I had to get out.
There’s also an argument to be made that quality trumps localism and I am very good at what I do. At my most recent gig in Santa Fe, my reporting resulted in the indictment of an embezzling Public Regulation Commissioner, the divestment by the state of $45 million in Darfur-tied funds, the rebidding of a family-gouging state prison telephone contract, the defeat of oil drilling in sensitive watershed land, the restructuring of a private security watchdog board, and soon, the authorization of new nonprofit medical cannabis distributors by the otherwise incompetent New Mexico Department of Health to meet an overwhelming demand. In previous jobs, my reporting has resulted in the closing of a refugee camp in Ghana and contributed to the commutation of a Texas death-row inmate’s sentence. I hope my prose also is a pleasure to read.
I’d also contend that my background is well-suited for San Diego. I’m well-versed in immigrant issues, refugee rights, the death penalty, energy, development, environmental cleanup, military, gangs and other issues close to the heart of San Diegans.
I hope that you’ll withhold judgment until I’ve had a few bylines on CityBeat’s pages. Perhaps we could grab a cup of coffee soon and discuss some of the issues that you feel most strongly about. In the meantime, I’ll be following your blog.
Thanks, however, for the challenge.
Then Dave emailed me again just the other day and told me I should check out their “Letters” section of their latest paper publication, the October 21st issue. I did – and discovered that City Beat had dedicated the entire issue to me. Wow! What an honor. Just because no one else but Dave and I (and a few others) knew about it, I didn’t care. Another badge of blogging honor.
Here’s what the dedication says, right there on page 5, the Letters page (just because it’s in 6 font, you can still see it with a magnifying glass):
This issue of CityBeat is dedicated to Frank Gormlie, who welcomed new writer Dave Maass with a blog comment implying Maass is a know-nothing, carpetbagging, corporate hack.
Here it is: