Wick Communications

Aboard Air Trump

In journalism on October 20, 2016 at 3:19 pm
Montrose's Matt Lindberg and an unidentified man in a tie.

Montrose’s Matt Lindberg and an unidentified man in a tie.

Montrose Daily Press Managing Editor Matt Lindberg knew when Donald Trump planned a rally in nearby Grand Junction that the circus was coming to town. He didn’t know he would be invited into the tent to see the ringmaster himself up close and personal.

He says that he got a call from a Trump operative on Tuesday morning, just before the presidential candidate was scheduled to speak before 10,000 people on the Western Slope of Colorado. Lindberg was being invited on the Trump plane for a one-on-one interview with one of the most controversial men in recent history.

“I was told I would get a call from an unknown number during the rally, and I needed to answer,” Matt wrote to me in an email. “Then I would be escorted to the plane. That happened.”

Matt and Daily Press sports editor Richard Reeder got an uninterrupted 20 minutes with The Donald while ensconced in the candidate’s largely gold-plated jet.

Matt says his goal was to capture some of the flavor of the man rather than give another report from another rally. I couldn’t agree more.

Matt’s reporting from that day is interesting, personal, clean and would be worth the price of the paper to anyone in the area who is interested in presidential politics in this unprecedented year. (By the way, the story is behind a paywall or I would share it with you. I have mixed feelings about the paywall concept, but this is certainly an instance when it increases the value of the paid product.) Matt pulled out local nuggets. Trump said he had been to the area before and found the Western Slope of Colorado beautiful. He asked Matt where he thought the people came from for the rally. Matt said he talked to one attendee from as far away as Utah. …

Making the best of it

In journalism on October 20, 2016 at 3:11 pm


When I told Sierra Vista Herald interim Managing Editor Liz Manring how much I liked this Oct. 7 front page, her response was: “This one? Really?”

Liz and her staff are perfectionists. A “perfect” front page would undoubtedly consist entirely of well researched staff-written stories full of context and bursting with art. This is not really that page.

“I don’t know that this is the best example of our best work,” she wrote to me in an email.

I agree, but that wasn’t the point I was making. As a news editor, every day my reach exceeds my grasp. I always want to produce a better newspaper than I do, and frankly that is one of the things that has always appealed to me about newspapering. Tomorrow is always a day away and that means I have another chance right around the corner.

What I liked about this page is that Liz and her staff made the most of what they had that day. And there was planning involved that might not be evident. …

The accused and the guilty

In Crime on October 20, 2016 at 3:06 pm
Clyde Champion Barrow

Clyde Champion Barrow

I’m not a big fan of police mugshots. I say that knowing full well that readers can’t get enough of them. There are entire websites filled with nothing but people caught at their absolute lowest moments — bloodshot eyes, hair in need of a comb, frowns that look permanent.

In fact, there are websites that scrape all those mugs, post them and then send the accused a friendly email, noting the accused can have that sad picture removed … for a price. It’s extortion and, amazingly, perfectly legal.

I want to make a plea on behalf of the accused. Please remember that just because the authorities send the local newspaper a mugshot does not mean the guy in the picture is guilty. If you are going to use it and run a man or woman’s name in 40-point type along with the accusation, I think you have an obligation to follow the case through adjudication.

And ask yourself this: What would you tell someone accused of a heinous crime in your newspaper after he is found not guilty? What will you say, after you have posted his name and photo online, where it will remain in some form for the rest of his life?

I take particular caution with photos of those accused of crimes that come with particular stigma. Take, for instance, child molestation. You can argue that parents have a right to know if there is a predator in their midst, and I guess that is so. But, as a parent, am I really going to commit that mug to memory so that when I see the guy three years from now I know to scurry my children in the other direction? (As an aside the Innocence Project of Texas reported a few years ago that it received 100 letters a week from people who said they were wrongly accused of sex crimes.) …