EDITORíS DESK: Schism, journalism... they rhyme!

       As our longtime readers know, the Westside Pioneer has a simple news policy: Stick to the facts. Our main purpose in publishing this paper is to provide information Westsiders might like to know about or could benefit from learning. In that regard, we look on unsubstantiated speculation as something like a virus. Some of our stories (and non-stories) actually involve tracking rumors to their source so we can find out what's really going on (example: the Mesa Springs Greenway story on Page 3).
       All this chest-beating is leading up to an observation on the quasi-local news insert that appears weekly in the local daily. Ever since it started up last year, being touted as "citizen journalism," I've been skeptical. There is of course the point that it's just a scheme by the daily's skinflint owners to get their writing done for free. But that's a side matter, and if all the insert did was give Danny Dollar a chance to rave about his coin collection or Tilly Travel to gush about her trip to Hawaii, then fine and dandy. But when it unabashedly gives writers with axes to grind an opening to bash politically sensitive targets, without editorial fact-checking or the other side being told (as happened the last two issues), then it's becoming a public nuisance. Last week, in questioning the air quality at Gold Hill Mesa, the lazily biased writer actually admitted she was passing along a rumor! This week's one-sided bashing sprang from a meeting (see our Page 1) that the daily hadn't even bothered to cover. Amusingly, the writer managed to double-dip, getting a letter printed simultaneously in the daily, where he repeated the same arguments.
       My overall point is this: Why put out a newspaper if you're only going to add to the confusion, urban myths and divisiveness that are already out there, waiting like little fires for fuel to be poured on them? Controversy is one thing, but promoting amateuristic cheap shots is quite another. It's a type of journalism, all right. But not one I'd glorify with "citizen." Try "yellow."

- K.J.