EDITOR’S DESK: Get out the whitewash
In Mark Twain's “Tom Sawyer,” the main character cleverly gets out of whitewashing his aunt's fence by tricking his friends into doing the work for him.
Enter the local daily's "Your Hub." According to its own articles, the Gazette plans to spend several hundred thousand dollars - including advertising with glow-in-the- dark bus benches - to push a venture it's spinning as an "online town square."
The spin the daily is NOT putting on the plan is that none of those greenbacks are going to the so-called "citizen journalists" who will provide the backbone of the operation. Tom Sawyer, aka the Gazette, is hoping that folks out there - including us Westsiders, who are being pigenoholed into a geographical segment called "Central Colorado Springs" - will be too ecstatic to care. Just think! The chance to post an article about ourselves on the Big Paper's website! And then, if we do a really good job, the Their Hub editors might even run the article (or some edited form of it) in their print edition! Oh, boy!
Did you ever wonder why community papers such as ours come into being? Usually it has something to do with people living in an area - in our case, the Westside of Colorado Springs - and realizing that coverage by the major media is sporadic at best (unless of course there's a serial killing or similar sort of disaster). As for neighborhood issues - upgrades in our local schools, the Highway 24 public process, streetlights in Old Colorado City, Red Rock Canyon trails, the extension of Centennial Boulevard, etc. - they can hardly stifle a yawn.
I know the daily's editors will argue back that their new toy is a way of "reaching out" to the neighborhoods, but face it, all they're doing is saving the company money on the backs of local residents who don't even get a college writing class out of the deal. Citizen journalism? Tom Sawyer would have loved it.