The new us

Our New Year’s resolution here at the News & Review is to start treating the other media in town with a bit more respect—no more taking cheap shots at the daily newspaper or the other weeklies or the good folks in local television. We’re all in the same business, bringing you the news. It’s friendly, good-natured rivalry. There’s even a loose-knit group of those in the news and PR business in town called the “The Flack Pack” that gets together to swap war stories over drinks. Or so I’ve been told.

That said, I have some questions: Which weeklies exactly did Enterprise-Record Editor David Little have in mind when he said in his Sunday column a few weeks back that the Pleasant Valley High School paper looks better than some of Chico’s local weeklies? Huh? That would have to include the E-R’s own The Buzz, wouldn’t it? Come on, David. Take stock of your own back yard before you start telling the neighbors to take a trip to the dump.

And Max Sidman of The Synthesis. Dude, do a little research before you write about subjects you’re unfamiliar with. You guys know music, that’s for sure. You know what’s hip and who’s keeping it real. But sports are not your forte. So when you do a year’s-end roundup on the sports scene, bone up a bit, man. Barry Bonds hit 73, not 72, home runs last year, and in doing so he beat the old record of 70 set by Mark McGwire back in 1998, not 2000. And you know race car driver Dale Earnhardt did not die in a “fiery” crash. His car hit a wall, his restraint strap broke, his head snapped and cracked the base of his skull. No fire.

Hey, Channels 12 and 24, now your news is running the same footage simultaneously, with the anchors reading the same voice-over copy. Your ads are even the same, with some running at the same time. Give us some variety. Otherwise, what’s the point of even pretending to do two different shows? And where might the local news be at the beginning of each year if not for the polar bear swim across Sycamore Pool at One Mile? Man, I saw the footage about four times on New Year’s Day (both stations, same film) of a bunch of people on a 50-degree day jumping into cool water and swimming/walking across the pool. The E-R put it on the front page. Again. The paper even wrote an editorial about it—said it was a good thing, pulls people together. I think. The story said the event had taken place for “about 22 years.” And I’m willing to bet the E-R has put photos of it on the cover for, oh, about the last 22 years.

David and Max. Don’t take what I write seriously—not that you ever do. You guys know I love you like the brothers I never had (thank God). And you know what? The Pleasant Valley paper is a good-looking paper.

They happen so fast that it takes a second to absorb the reality. We are never prepared for those sudden and unexpected brushes with fame, those rare moments that bless our otherwise dull and ordinary lives, when, by pure serendipity, our paths intersect with the paths of the famous people. It’s happened to me a few times. In 1974 I was in Spokane, Wash., at the World’s Fair when I looked to my left and found myself practically at eye level with a belt buckle. I looked up to discover I was standing next to Wilt Chamberlain. Like I say, it took a second to realize I was in the presence of celebrity. Well it happened again a few days ago when I was out at Kmart helping return a faulty Christmas gift. I was standing there in line when I saw a face I vaguely recognized. It took a second, and then I realized it was Channel 12 news Managing Editor Debbie Cobb. She was carrying her new baby (cute, cute, cute). But it was just startling to see her under the unforgiving glare of the Kmart florescent lights rather than on my much more forgiving TV screen. And I was reminded that even the celebrities among us are forced to do the menial, everyday tasks like shop at Kmart.