My home subscription to the El Paso Times restarted this morning. Thanks to all those at the newspaper who made it happen (along with my wife who made the final calls for us).
It was a joy and a revelation this morning. Body found! It might snow! An IMAX theater in El Paso! (OK, I knew about that last one, having already bought my ticket to “The Hunger Games, Catching Fire: The IMAX Experience” a week ago.)
The El Paso Times is so essential. It’s essential even to its critics, who go back to getting their news there a week after claiming they’ll never read it again.
Are there things to criticize? Sure, of course. But they have a great staff, who work hard, doing their best with a bad situation. When I started at the Times almost 20 years ago, the newsroom staff was about twice the size it is now. Here’s hoping that their new pay-wall strategy will help stop at least a little of the bleeding.
Who’s that again?
Meanwhile, you know what has been a complete disappointment? Newspaper Tree.
What, you forgot they were around? Yeah, so did I. It’s such nonessential reading that it’s easy to forget. I was reminded of their existence only recently when Roy Ortega wrote a column to explain that he doesn’t hold a grudge against Marc Schwartz. Not at all. So much so, Roy wrote a whole column about the wrong Schwartz did, but there is no grudge there. No, not at all. It’s water under the bridge.
Newspaper Tree started a couple of years ago with a strong, impressive staff of journalists. But it never published anything with that staff, and eventually devolved into what it is today, writing groundbreaking stories about how El Pasoans sure seem to care about where people went to high school.
The Tree promised hard-hitting investigations. Instead, they are investigating why nobody wants to admit they went to Bowie High School. (In case you think I’m picking on Bowie, here’s one of the quotes from the story: “Once people find out I went to Bowie, the conversation seems to shut down right away.”)
It would be nice if the Tree, or anybody really, could give some competition to the Times. It would make everybody better. But looks like we are going to have to keep waiting.
(And don’t hold your breath waiting for El Diario de El Paso to provide that competition by publishing in English. They’ve been promising to publish in English for about 15 years now, always saying they’ll start next week. It’s not happening.)