Does it feel like the world has gone crazy? There’s no doubt that everyone’s on edge. From politics to coronavirus and everything in between, human anxiety is at a boiling point. Even here in El Paso.
We’ve seen our fair share of cranky readers well dispersed across political and demographic spectrums.
The most recent were complaints last week about El Paso Inc.’s supposed endorsements of Republican candidates on the November ballot.
Let’s be clear about one thing: El Paso Inc. doesn’t endorse political candidates – never has, never will. We know our readers are sophisticated and will make their own decisions.
The reference was a political ad paid for by the El Paso Republican Party. It was labeled as such, as are all political ads, but sadly the readers didn’t get that far.
We’re making some adjustments so everyone is clear about what they’re looking at in the paper.
Unlike other mediums, small independent newspapers don’t get much from those massive political fundraising budgets. It’s too bad because our readers vote. Still, we will accept political advertising and it won’t change our editorial integrity.
On the other side of the spectrum, we’ve recently been accused of having a liberal agenda – mostly because we publish some New York Times content. This is also reinforced by our selection of Beto O’Rourke for the El Pasoan of the Year in 2018 and anytime we cover his developments.
Also, so we’re clear: Beto was not selected for his political positions. He was selected for doing something no El Pasoan had done before and because the majority of our previous honorees also recommended him. And they are not all liberal.
Since launching in 1995, El Paso Inc. has coupled local content with stories from the Associated Press and the New York Times licensing service, which can include other media partners. Because a newspaper can’t scale its staff proportionately to the daily or weekly reality of advertising fluctuations, the syndicate services allow us to grow and shrink the paper on the fly while managing staffing budgets. It’s also a goldmine of great articles that many don’t have access to. Our editors – Cindy Ramirez and Robby Gray – carefully curate what we include, selecting the most relevant and valuable for our readers.
Which reminds me of the somewhat aggressive complaint Robby recently got, accusing him of editing a New York Times article to manipulate a story falsely in favor of President Trump.
We published a modified version of a full New York Times article shortened by the Times’ editorial team and available with the syndicate subscription.
This business requires a thick skin. If you put something out to the public, it’s going to get feedback. We know this and welcome it. People are reading. We value their critiques and use them to improve what we do.
What alarms me is the new undercurrent of suspicion and distrust. And how intolerant we’re becoming of any point of view that doesn’t align with our own. How quick we cast judgment and make assumptions, often blindly, and have lost our sense of humor.
Add all of that to today’s extraordinary stress, and we are so angry. Maybe a little outrage at the local paper feels good.
But anger rarely solves anything. Nor is it a place from where good decisions come from.
Let’s breathe. Seriously. And breathe deeply. The science is there – a little more oxygen to the body can do wonders for your state of mind. Let’s calm down and realize we’re on edge and need to recalibrate.
I’m all for healthy discourse, varying points of view and hope El Paso Inc. can be a safe place for diverse perspectives.