The media and the messages
Guide to sources for local information
Welcome to your new haunts. One of the best ways to get to know your new town is to read the local papers, listen to the radio and watch the local TV news. The town offers a good cross-section of publications, a couple of radio stations that offer more than country music or classic rock, and is even the home to three television stations—though together they offer only one option for local news.
The Chico Enterprise-Record is the only daily in town, which makes it both the best and worst of its type. And that means it’s about what you’d expect from a daily paper that is part of a huge conglomerate—Denver-based MediaNews Group—whose main mission is making money. Nothing wrong with that, except it can lead to some pretty milquetoast, non-confrontational, middle-of-the-road coverage of the news. For the most part, like most small dailies, the E-R, as the locals call it (we won’t mention the cruder nick-names), has a stable of hard-working, earnest reporters spread too thin and worn down by constant deadlines. In other words, the parts add up to more than the sum of the product. The paper’s most popular section is “Tell it to the E-R,” which operates on the theory that even illiterate Americans have the right to spout off anonymously about things they don’t fully (or even partially) understand.
The Sacramento Bee doesn’t offer much of a local bent except for occasional coverage of the most heinous of crimes reported for their oddity and shock value. Better sports page than the E-R, though it doesn’t include late-night finals and local high school and college scores. Those who left their hearts in San Francisco and don’t really care about what’s going on in their immediate environment can always get a subscription to the Chronicle or pick one up for a quarter.
The Chico Examiner
Now entering its fourth year, the Examiner is a one-man operation. Founder Tim Bousquet, the hardest working man in local journalism, is a throwback to muckrakers like Upton Sinclair and George Seldes. A gloves-off, take-no-prisoners approach to journalism that spares no one (except his advertisers). Publisher, editor, ad salesman, reporter, writer and head of distribution Bousquet is relentless in his pursuit and hounding of those he sees as guilty of bringing trouble and injustice to town. He’s calmed down from his early days, when he dared those he attacked in ink to sue him. While he can still occasionally venture into the land of hyperbole and blind, bipartisan, knee-jerk rage, he’s mellowed considerably. Whether or not you agree with his black-and-white, good-vs.-evil view of the world, you have to admire the guy’s tenacity and willingness to work hard. The Examiner is a mix of national stories by lefty pundits and Bousquet’s own take on local, national and worldly events. Published on Thursday.
This local music and club scene paper that is now in its eighth year. The Synthesis has gone through some changes in its lifetime, dabbling in news and politics before finally finding its niche among young, white college kids who like to unwind by listening and paying homage to “indie” punk, rock and hip-hop while drinking Coronas and wearing backward baseball caps, big baggy pants and tattoos to upset the parents (who nevertheless continue to finance their educations). The paper boasts the largest independent music review Web site in the world—or something like that. Usual contents include interviews with bands coming to town, a few columns with “tude” and many photos of folks partying in and near the city’s bars. Comes out every Monday.
The Chico News & Review
Publishers of the special issue of Goin’ Chico you’re holding in your hands. May we humbly suggest that the News & Review is the best—and we meant the absolute best—source for local news and entertainment coverage in the region? Of course we’re going to say that, but give us a chance and we’ll prove it. Our stories are written better, researched better, more thoughtful and, above all, more entertaining than those in any other local print medium. Great look, too. Even the ads are cool. Hits the streets every Thursday.
Award-winning college newspaper that seems to outdo itself every year. Does a good job of breaking stories on campus, but, like most experiments, makes the occasional embarrassing gaffe. Features a wide spectrum of columnists, and the writers tend to settle into their beats rather comfortably. Good source of info for what’s happening on campus.
Butte Community College’s campus paper finally returned last year after a decade-long hiatus. In its rebirth, it is thin but ambitious and should get better with time. The students work hard and deserve recognition—so does the school for bringing it back.
Television and radio
Chico has three television stations, but effectively offer only one source of local news—Northern California News. That generic title applies to the bland result of a merger between KHSL Channel 12, the local CBS affiliate, and KNVN Channel 24, the local NBC affiliate. The decision to merge was made by the suits who own the respective stations in offices back East. Although it was sold to the public as a way to combine resources and make for one super local news team, what we got was one less source of news. The local ABC affiliate is Redding’s KRCR Channel 7, whose local news coverage gives NCN a good run for its money.
For information via the radio, we have KPAY at 1290 AM, offering syndicated talk show hosts and some local news coverage. We also have the local public radio station and carrier of National Public Radio, KCHO, at 91.7 on the FM band. That station, whose offices, at least for a while longer, are located on the Chico State campus, also offers local news coverage. For more topical programming, tune into 90.1 KZFR local community radio, complete with call-in shows, food talk, kids’ shows and everything in between, including an eclectic array of music shows.