Old School 4th Estate

I’ll admit it. I’ve been down. It’s hard to write a book or even a short story and escape into another world when all around you you can’t turn off the daily voices of Trump’s America designed to make everyone go to bed fearful, depressed, and anxiety ridden. I remember not liking W and Rumsfeld and Cheney. I remember freaking out over Reagan and suspicious all the time over Bush 1, but I don’t remember feeling like the world was going apart. My apocalypse came with an eyeroll.

Now I go through the day feeling like I’m going to throw up all the time. I go to bed thinking of people ripping kids away from their parents–and apparently being perfectly okay with that. I go to bed thinking of WH people persecuting brown people then dining in Mexican restaurants. I’m going to bed thinking this is not the world I wanted my kids to come of age in.

I realize in times like these is when people either rise up and become real men or and women and heroic or they continue on the path to selfishness and self-righteousness.

When I first was drawn to working for newspapers it felt quaint. I often seem to run towards things that are almost over, things that have no place in the contemporary world, and newspapers fit in well with that.

When I was much younger I worked at the LA Times, then the SF Chronicle…and now Feather River Publishing. Working for the print newspaper can make you feel antiquated and a sucker. But I really am beginning to appreciate my choices. Especially now. Now when so much is consolidated. Now when an administration shrugs off facts and gives us lies by the minute. It feels good to be working the underdog life at a community paper. I only work for them part time (I can’t afford to work for a newspaper full time). But instead of seeking out less of this work, I’m doing more.

I also like the machinery. I love the machinery actually. The big print machine turned on on  Tuesdays and produces a beautiful back beat.  A hum like no other. I can drown out my sorrows in that sound.  The sound of our democracy falling is temporarily drowned out by big loud sounds of truths. However small. A community paper doesn’t really touch on national issues but sometimes the outside world intervenes.

Wolf sightings. Water rights. Meth addict crimes. Commercial cannabis growing. The stuff of northern California. What I love about both living here and about small town independent papers is just that. The live and let live independence of it all.

It’s with that small town. Small press sensibility that I find solace and strength these days. Analog when needed. And it is so very needed.

Last Tuesday we had an editorial staff meeting that ended with a tour of the wonderful monolith of a machine. Here’s some photos that help keep me happy. A reminder that our words are important–no matter how small and trivial. It’s all still part of the 4th Estate. We’re here to keep tabs on the powers that be. We’re here to inform. And sometimes to celebrate.  Truth is important. Even still.

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