Monday, March 23, 2015

Is the Gazette's new marijuana series a joke?

Posted By on Mon, Mar 23, 2015 at 12:19 PM

  • shutterstock

Update: Gazette employees are at risk of being fired if they discuss the series. Our latest post here.

Well, this is embarrassing. It looks like the Gazette accidentally published a bloated anti-marijuana opinion column as news.

To its credit, "Clearing the Haze" does have a vaguely menacing presentation — and, ooh, parallax — but if the organization had any sense of journalistic ethics, the four-day series would never have hit the page.

Let's start with the way news is supposed to work. The Society of Professional Journalists says reporters should "avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived. Disclose unavoidable conflicts." For reference here's the Los Angeles Times' policy: "A fair-minded reader of Times news coverage should not be able to discern the private opinions of those who contributed to that coverage, or to infer that the organization is promoting any agenda."

It's probably not fair to hold the Gazette to such a standard, because it publicly espouses no such intention, but let's just do it anyway. Let's clear the haze.

The four-day series was written by three people: Wayne Laugesen, Pula Davis and Christie Tatum.

None of these people work for the news division of a newspaper. Laugesen and Davis are members of the Gazette's editorial board, which has written so many diatribes against cannabis, all compositions led by Laugesen, ownership is practically screaming in the woods.

As for Tatum, a former business reporter at the Denver Post, she reminds me of a quote by former New York Times editor Abe Rosenthal, on the subject of journalistic ethics: “I don’t care if you [screw] an elephant, just so long as you don’t cover the circus.” As the wife of Chris Thurstone, a doctor making his living on addiction treatment and leading anti-marijuana crusader, Tatum is screwing the elephant while covering the circus.

(Among other savvy moves, Thurstone thought he might capitalize on the death of Michael Brown by attributing being killed by a police officer, somehow, to marijuana, a post that led to charges of racism. It has since been removed. The good doctor has also said he fears teens will start injecting THC into each other.)

The website for the family business even states that Tatum "frequently collaborates with her husband to produce communications designed to educate and inform the public about substance abuse and addiction." Naturally, Thurstone shows up in the newspaper's comments cheerleading the piece.

But the best source of Tatum's bias is herself. Of the pieces she authored for the Gazette, Tatum yesterday wrote on Facebook how she thought of "you prevention folks out there" while she "looked at the sorry state of prevention in Colorado."


On Twitter, Tatum refused to answer how she became involved with the project. We emailed Laugesen and editor Joanna Bean asking why no news staff are bylined on the story, and if it went through the traditional news process. We also asked about the conflicts of interest. Bean said she forwarded our email to publisher Dan Steever, and then ignored a follow-up. Laugesen never responded.

It's entirely possible there's useful information in the paper's stories. There are two more days to find out. But the Gazette's disregard for ethics here is disturbing. The first thing you're taught in journalism is to consider the source.

We have.

  • Favorite

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Monday, March 2, 2015

Jupiter Ascending: The next big thing ... or not

Posted By on Mon, Mar 2, 2015 at 12:59 PM

Jupiter Ascending, in theaters now, is a film that has nice visuals but lacks depth. It builds itself up as epic. You could say it is epic in a sense — an epic failure.

When the first trailer was released, people got excited about what seemed like the next big space opera. Eye-catching graphics, rich story-worlds and intriguing characters. But you’re only as good as your word. And Jupiter Ascending failed to follow through, being rife with problems. Not everything about Jupiter Ascending is terrible. It's bursting with potential. Yet it manages to miss the marks of a great or even good film.


Jupiter Ascending
follows housemaid Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis) who discovers she’s royalty but that her life’s on the line. She’s “rescued” by a trained hunter (Channing Tatum) who whisks her away to safety. She must fight to protect herself and Earth as she knows it.

This goes downhill. The characters are mere puppets. They travel from place to place without much explanation, making it a struggle for the audience to keep up.

The villains’ goal is to kill the heroine so they can rule Earth. The heroine has some motivation, initially just to get home, since she’s whiny and weak, but she decides to save the world as an afterthought.

It gets worse. Being subtle about what someone wants is one matter. Sometimes it’s more powerful when hinted at, allowing people to think it through. However, characters go from undeveloped to disappearing from the film after introductions that make them seem important, so there are bigger flaws in the story.

The whole film, in an attempt to be complex yet engaging, ends up convoluted. It’s not that it has too many characters but too many major ones. None are done justice within adequate screen time. Despite many directions Jupiter Ascending could take, just when it gets interesting, it goes on a tangent. It’s almost as if the filmmakers had multiple budding ideas. Somewhere along the way they grew bored before the ideas had a chance to blossom. Instead of cutting out these fillers to replace them with better, or just different, concepts, they sloppily left them with no place or purpose. The stuff of writers’ nightmares: a plant without a payoff.

One would think that given the pushed-back release date to handle special effects, the filmmakers would have noticed and fixed more pressing issues like everything wrong with the plot line and character development. But apparently, appealing films is all that matters to Hollywood these days.

One positive element about Jupiter Ascending is eye candy, from graphics to costumes to pretty faces that fans love to see. That at least it got right. What it got wrong was everything else. If the most that can be said about a film is how it looks, that’s saying very little. In this technological age, graphics are not challenging. Long gone are the days when big filmmakers valued lovable characters and a good story.

  • Favorite

Tags: , , , , ,

Friday, February 13, 2015

'I Heart Colorado Springs' trumps 'Live It Up!'

Posted By on Fri, Feb 13, 2015 at 3:33 PM

Granted, it’s no “Colorado Springs: Live It Up!”

And that’s just fine, especially for those of us who actually remember the Colorado Springs Convention and Visitors Bureau's ill-fated 2011 branding campaign, which cost $111,000 and netted little more than local and national ridicule. 

In fact, the Pikes Peak Equality Coalition’s “I Heart Colorado Springs: A Colorado Springs Love Story” is actually pretty good. Posted to BuzzFeed Community earlier this week, the photo-feature includes 14 brief and articulate testimonials from a diverse range of local community members. You can go check it out here.

Sadly, all traces of the original and unintentionally hilarious “Live It Up!” video have disappeared from the convention bureau’s website, while the clips on YouTube yield a black screen along with a sad face and the words "This video is private. Sorry about that."


  • Favorite

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

More on frostbitten KRDO reporter Eric Fink

Posted By on Tue, Jan 20, 2015 at 4:23 PM


Recently, we posted the tale of KRDO reporter Eric Fink, who was hospitalized earlier this month with severe frostbite shortly after the station ran a story about the risks of frostbite. Additionally, an unnamed insider told TVSpy that other reporters had previously criticized the station over a lack of training for extreme weather.

Now comes our source, who requested anonymity but is known to the Indy, for another take from inside the TV station. Here's the email we received today:
Everyone here is very surprised and saddened with Eric's situation and we're all praying and hoping for a speedy recovery.

Many of us have been in the news business for many years in cold weather climates and never heard of a reporter or photographer getting frostbite like this.

• Accusations about the station being criticized by reporters for not warning reporters about the dangers of cold weather are not true and laughable. It's unclear who the source for this is, but the only concerns about safety ever brought up by reporters are about covering crime news at night in certain areas of the city. Those concerns have always been properly addressed. No one has to do anything they are not comfortable doing.

As far as the cold weather — the station not only provides winter jackets, but managers and senior staff members frequently remind crews to wear those winter coats, gloves, hats and layers when it's cold. Many of us have worked in different markets in cold weather climates and no station has ever given any type of "formal training" on how to dress yourself for the cold.

• The News Director was never notified about Eric's condition until after he was taken to the hospital. She asked if he'd like her to come see him, since his family was not here, and he said yes.

• According to Eric and the producer who worked that shift, Eric never asked to come back to the station because it was cold.

According to Eric, the only thing he said was he was concerned about the wind blowing over his tripod at 6pm. The weekend anchor told him to prop it against the car. Eric couldn't get the backpack live unit to work so he took off his gloves. The live shot failed and the producer cleared him to come back at 6:05pm. It's unclear why he did not get into the car to try to power up the backpack unit. It's also not clear if he put his gloves back on.

Eric came back to the station and said his hands were cold, and staff members present at the time report that the weekend anchor told him to sit on them to warm them up. Only later did Eric start to show signs of a blister. He went out into the station parking lot with a photographer who set up his live shot for him and did a report for the 10pm.

It is very sad that this situation has played out the way it has. Eric is a very nice man and does not deserve the negative comments posted in the comments section from several publications that reported this.  
For his part, Fink never responded to our request for comment.

  • Favorite

Tags: , , , ,

Friday, October 31, 2014

Halloween playlist on Spotify

Posted By on Fri, Oct 31, 2014 at 4:39 PM

Stop. What are you doing? Are you listening to the Independent's Roky Erickson Halloween playlist on Spotify?


Well, how convenient that there's a big button to let you do just that right here.

Enjoy, and have a safe & spooky holiday!

  • Favorite

Monday, September 29, 2014

New radio station seeks to reveal the Springs' underrepresented

Posted By on Mon, Sep 29, 2014 at 2:17 PM

There's a growing sentiment, most easily seen in this manifesto, that Colorado Springs' media doesn't do an adequate job of giving voice to those in the minority by virtue of their race, income or sexual orientation. And while the charge is probably accurate, the effort is always being made — at least by everybody I know — so it's nice to see additional sources springing up, sources like new radio station KCMJ.

Founded by former Colorado House of Representatives member Dennis Apuan and launched Sept. 21, 93.9 FM plans to start broadcasting community radio in 2015 from a station near Jet Wing Drive and South Academy Boulevard. (Programming airs online, currently.) It's a low-power station, meaning it will only reach approximately a quarter of the city at first, but it will headquarter in, and tell some of the stories of, one of the poorest, most economically neglected areas of town.

"At first, our local, original program offerings will be limited," says programming chair Arlene Hall in a press release, "but we'll add programs as hosts, producers and needed equipment come online." Hall later expanded in a roundtable that the focus will be on two things: talk and music. Talk will include public affairs, local news and spoken word, while music will be eclectic, similar to what you might find on KRCC: jazz shows, Celtic hours, '80s playlists, local bands and independent artists.

But the bootstrapped effort can't do it without equipment and transmitters and towers, so the station is running an Indiegogo campaign until Nov. 13 in an attempt to raise $20,000. So far, it's brought in around $2,400. As far as rewards, $35 gets you a one-year radio membership; a sticker; discounted drinks at the Nov. 13 launch party at Ivywild School; and a pound of free beef from Ranch Foods Direct.

"There is a thirst in our city for radio that plays more than Top 20 Hits, radio that focuses on everything local, and radio that celebrates all the good that’s happening here," reads the campaign. "A station that respects its audience, promotes diversity, and gives a voice to those who are under-represented."

  • Favorite

Tags: , , , ,

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Editor swap: Hight out, Bean in at The Gazette

Posted By on Thu, Sep 11, 2014 at 5:37 PM

Joanna Bean, left, takes over for a departing Joe Hight.
  • Joanna Bean, left, takes over for a departing Joe Hight.

Today, the Gazette announced that Joe Hight, the editor who had led the paper's transition from ownership by Freedom Communications to Clarity Media in 2012, is returning to Oklahoma. Assuming the role will be longtime employee Joanna Bean, who previously worked as managing editor.

"We wanted our next newsroom leader to be one who understands this community and the vital historical role that The Gazette has had in Colorado Springs since its founding in 1872," said publisher Dan Steever. "We also wanted a leader who understands our readers, the changing consumer media habits and direction we're headed with The Gazette, and our other brands."

The direction the paper's headed online has so far included a new paywall, which debuted recently to gripes on social media from people already irritated by the constant Google surveys. We emailed Bean for more on what her new role might mean and will update this post if we hear back. 

As for Hight, he oversaw the expansion of a newspaper suddenly flush with billionaire Philip Anschutz's cash, adding sections, pages and staff. In a separate piece, he says that one of his daughters moving back to Oklahoma, and his wife's desire to do the same, were strong motivators to depart.

"I'll never regret my time here or what we've accomplished since Clarity announced its purchase in 2012," Hight says. "I spent more than a month before coming here in studying The Gazette, reading about the history of the community and seeking to understand its demographics. I have to admit that I'm still learning.

"As for when we return to Oklahoma, I will enter another chapter of my life — literally — a family venture that will be announced soon. However, I'll always be connected to this community. Thank you for letting me be a part of it. I'll miss being a daily part of the newsroom and your lives."

  • Favorite

Tags: , , , , , ,

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Lance Armstrong is yelling at the Gazette

Posted By on Wed, Aug 27, 2014 at 10:36 AM


Today, Gazette sports columnist David Ramsey ran a piece talking to a former colleague of cyclist Lance Armstrong on the topic of post-truth relief for those who spoke out about Armstrong's history of doping.
Listen, I find no joy in watching Armstrong free-fall in the public's regard, but there is solace to be found in his troubles. As he falls, there's an encouraging, uplifting rise.

The crusaders who spoke the truth about him are now vindicated.

Betsy and her husband, Frankie, a former professional racer and teammate of Armstrong's, were present at a 1996 hospital discussion. At the time, Armstrong was recovering from cancer, and he told his physician he had enhanced his training with human growth hormone and steroids.
Then, as us newsie types are wont to do, the paper's sports-related Twitter account sent the story out, tagging Armstrong in the process. However, the cyclist, as you can see above, dissented.

Ramsey then tweeted out several offers to talk to the cyclist post-column, which this reporter wondered about and asked the columnist for clarification on why Armstrong wasn't contacted pre-print.

"A valid question," Ramsey responded, "but getting in touch with Lance is about as easy as getting in touch with Putin or Obama."

After I responded that it seems it apparently is not that difficult, Ramsey wrote: "Point well taken, but if he's serious about his point, he will call. He can't have it both ways."

And the last word:


  • Favorite

Tags: , , , ,

Monday, July 21, 2014

Music Voyager to showcase Pueblo

Posted By on Mon, Jul 21, 2014 at 6:15 PM


Over the course of several days this month, the TV show Music Voyager visited Pueblo. The show, which tapes in both the U.S. and abroad, filmed as much arts and culture as it could squeeze in over July 9-12. (After that, it spent the next week in Telluride.)

While in Pueblo, the crew filmed a concert with the Haunted Windchimes, visited Lastleaf Printing, boogie boarded on the Arkansas River and spent time along the Creative Corridor scouting the murals and sipping Solar Roast Coffee. Other film stops included a chat with a low rider club and work at a chile farm. Many appear in my April cover story regarding the city's developing arts scene.

In a video interview with the Pueblo Chieftain, director and cinematographer Adam Barton said, "I think it's a true artist's city. I've been really impressed with the amount and quality of the art. It seems like a city that's started to really embrace that."

The episode will air on PBS next March.

Requisite high humor from the show's Facebook page.
  • Requisite high humor from the show's Facebook page.

  • Favorite

Tags: , , ,

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Social machine

Posted By on Sat, Jul 19, 2014 at 12:00 PM

I have a confession to make: Sometimes, I am the worst. At writing, at life, and at social media, you name it, and I’ve probably been the worst at it at some point. Usually, I can sound like an expert and a know-it-all about pretty much anything, even things I know nothing about. (But not a guru. Never a guru.) But I wrestled with that while writing this post.

As I was trying to write about humanity being necessary to social media I realized I sounded robotic, unfeeling, and nothing like a human. I felt like Kristen Stewart in every movie she’s ever made (except I smile more).
  • Carrie Kintz

Then, I found this Margret Atwood quote: “Social media is called social for a reason. It lends itself to sharing rather than horn-tooting.” Reading it was a gentle smack in the face — if there can be such a thing — and the sentiment reminded me of what I truly love about being on all of these social media platforms: the stories, the sharing, and the people.

I love that ordinary people share their hilarious songs about why you can’t date their daughter, because people can relate to it or find it funny, and it spreads like wildfire. Or there are others, like the Rees family, who started a page honoring their daughter who died of cancer and now spend their lives making the day of other children who are battling that horrific disease. In fact, our stories can shine even brighter through social media. Photos, videos, and blogs give us the opportunity to share what we all share; our human need for connection and community.

A great example here in the Springs is SparrowHawk Cookware. Allen Epply Eppley runs the store and its social media channels. If you look at SparrowHawk's Facebook page or Instagram feed, you’ll see a wide range of content; everything from pots, mugs and Le Cruset cookware sales to conversations about community events. He has found the key to connecting with his community and creating potential customers along the way.

I know, it sounds trite to say that social media is about the people, but it’s the truth. Whether we run a business or we’re Facebooking just for fun, we are still communicating with others — there’s just a pixelated screen between us. Besides, in some way, we’re all just looking to be heard — even the Internet trolls. (OK, maybe not them. But Dave from Australia, who trolled his utility company with a drawn picture of a spider, is possibly an exception.)

Communication, whether it’s in person, or online, has to be intentional. Our words and expressions are what we make them. Granted, there are barriers to communicating online, but it isn’t impossible to be human and communicate like one in social media.

We have a growing and thriving social media community in Colorado Springs. I’m the girl who won’t do online dating, but I have dated two guys I met on Twitter. (Don’t judge me. Tinder wasn’t around then.) But seriously, I’ve met great people online who have become dear friends in real life, and I believe the connections and the friendships I’ve made have given me a deeper connection to the city. And I see more potential in our community and know more about what’s happening around town because of the time I spend on social.

There I go, getting all sappy again. I have a tendency to do that, but it’s only because I have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly that happens — both in real life and online — and every time I see the good, my faith in humanity is renewed.

When the bad and the ugly get to me, I take BuzzFeed quizzes. (Part of me feels better knowing Thomas Jefferson is my Founding Father soul mate, my pop culture dragon personality is Drogon from Game of Thrones, and I’m 54 percent ‘Murican. How about you?)

Carrie Kintz is a digital communications nerd in real life. She also has a laugh that can be heard for miles, startling dogs and children, which is why she prefers the comfort of communicating in social media. She can be found hanging out on Pinterest and Twitter, talking about cheese or coffee. But not cheese and coffee together. That’s just wrong.
  • Favorite

Tags: , , , , ,

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The social life

Posted By on Tue, Jul 8, 2014 at 7:00 AM


Sometimes, introductions are tough; like right now, for instance. This is my first post on the IndyBlog, where we get to discuss the big, insane sphere of social media and its influence on the world and Colorado Springs. Introductions are supposed to be fun and informative and ... something other than it is right now. I’ve been sitting here wracking my brain for the right words. 

OK, that’s a lie — I’ve been on Pinterest. Perhaps that’s where I should start. 

If you follow me on Pinterest (CarrieKintz), you might notice that I’m a bit of an Anglophile and a foodie, and have a fondness for quotes about writing. The words of other writers never fail to inspire me, especially when writing. “My head is a hive of words that won’t settle.” These words from Virginia Woolf inspire me to make sense of the consonants and vowels rattling around in my brain. 

You might also note that I have a deep and abiding fondness for Benedict Cumberbatch and Doctor Who. (By the way, have you met the Doctor? Travels in a big blue police telephone box through time and space, usually saving the earth from aliens? If you haven’t, I recommend you rectify that immediately. Geronimo!)

If we become friends on Facebook, you’ll learn that I don’t post often, and when I do, no one sees my posts because I forget to change my settings from “only me” to “friends,” or perhaps people just don’t like what I have to say — that’s also a possibility.

Twitter (@CarrieKintz) is where I spend most of my time conversing. Here, we might have a conversation about what’s happening in Colorado Springs, new television shows, or hilarious quotes I find about celebrities on the internet like, “Channing Tatum looks like a bushel of elbows.” (Does anyone know what a bushel of elbows looks like? Discuss.) And, more than likely, there will be at least one conversation about cheese. I love cheese. 

I wouldn’t recommend following me on Google+. (Is that even still a thing?)

These ridiculous paragraphs (hopefully) highlight some of what I love about social media — there’s constant activity, and we have the ability to connect with people around the world in a way that is unprecedented. We can finally see if our eighth-grade crush actually turned out to be good looking — how did yours turn out? (I still haven’t found mine, but it’s not for lack of looking. Is that creepy? That’s probably creepy.) We can plan family and high school reunions, help our friends decide on the color of a new couch, or discuss current events. Like Ann Coulter’s bizarre rant about soccer, or Shia LeBeouf getting carted out of Cabaret for slapping total strangers. Oh, Shia. What’s happened to you?

The way we consume news has changed with our instant access to information. With a cell phone in hand, people become reporters, their photos and videos shaping the way stories are told, and getting these stories to people faster than mediums like television and radio. Major television events have been transformed by platforms like Facebook and Twitter as well. It’s rare for me to watch the Super Bowl or the Oscars without tweeting my thoughts about what’s happening, and reading timelines and feeds to see what others are saying. These experiences shape my online community, whom I trust, and from whom I get information from on a daily basis. And not just to see silly selfies or to get the latest bacon recipes.

Social media has become the community I turn to in times of disaster or tragedy. Social media allows citizens and news organizations to communicate critical information in real time — though, at times, this can create confusion. For example, during the Waldo Canyon Fire, old information was tweeted out days after it was irrelevant and people became unclear about what was really happening. However, as dramatic have events unfolded, I have seen people work hard to make sure the information shared is accurate and reliable. (Tip: Make sure you’re using the accurate hashtag for any event.)

Some of the best examples of the power of social media I’ve seen, came during the Waldo Canyon and Black Forest fires. I've had the opportunity to work with some amazing people in our community through social media, and fallen in love with the tender heart of Colorado Springs as we've come together to help those impacted by those devastating events.

I know our city has its differences and complexities, but the unity and charity we show in tough times has given me a deep affection for our city, and the people I’ve met through various social media channels.

Sorry. I got a little sappy there for a moment, didn’t I? If you need me, I’ll be on Twitter, talking about what I had for lunch.

Carrie Kintz is a digital communications nerd in real life. She also has a laugh that can be heard for miles, startling dogs and children, which is why she prefers the comfort of communicating in social media. She can be found hanging out on Pinterest (CarrieKintz) and Twitter (@CarrieKintz), talking about cheese or coffee. But not cheese and coffee together. Because that’s just wrong.
  • Favorite

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Monday, July 7, 2014

On arts coverage and ethics

Posted By on Mon, Jul 7, 2014 at 4:13 PM

  • Shutterstock
The bottom line of this story is old: Newspapers are having a hard go at it.

The second-to-bottom line is also old: Newspapers are searching for new sources of income.

But as the Columbia Journalism Review reported last week, certain papers are taking decidedly questionable routes these days to keep the doors open.

Meet the Greensboro News & Record, a daily in North Carolina, which recently announced that the arts nonprofit ArtsGreensboro will underwrite 70 stories about the arts scene there this year. Actual coverage is better than ads for ArtsGreensboro, and News & Record will get $15,000. (Oh, and "complete independence and discretion" in said coverage.)

Any journalist with at least a little experience will tell you that this is dangerously close to unethical, and some will say that this is all-the-way completely unethical, no question. Cue the flashing red lights. But there's more to the story, and as CJR writer Corey Hutchins says, 15K isn't even a "transformative" amount of money for a paper of News & Record's size, nor its level of distress. It's had to cut back, but with owner Warren Buffett, it isn't in existential crisis.

So why do it?

Hutchins goes over several points, and talks with News & Record editor and publisher Jeff Gauger, who OK'ed the decision. While this may be a lot of industry stuff most interesting to those already in it, it sheds light on the way information comes to you, the reader. How it filters through the company and ends up on the page is your business. You decide whether or not you trust this source of information.

Because the fact is, as soon as money and editorial content begins to mingle, it puts the one thing any newspaper worth its salt values most at risk: reader trust.

Arts folks are doing good work worth reporting, no doubt. But a newspaper's allegiance isn't to any of its beats, it's to the readers. Advocacy and coverage are entirely different things. People distrust the media enough as it is. Sometimes it's with good reason. This is one of those reasons. 

  • Favorite

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Former Gazette writers claim IRE award

Posted By on Mon, Jul 7, 2014 at 10:00 AM

It's heartening to know that investigative journalism is alive and well across the country, as demonstrated by a stellar line up of winners at the Investigative Reporters and Editors annual conference in San Francisco.

Among those winners were a couple of familiar names — Raquel Rutledge and John Diedrich, two former Gazette reporters who now work at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Rutledge, who covered City Hall here and won the Pulitzer Prize for local reporting in 2010, and John, who covered the military here, left Colorado Springs for the Journal Sentinel in 2004.

They won the IRE "print — medium" category with their investigation of the ATF. Here's what the judges said about the series, called "Backfire":
In an exhaustive and shocking yearlong-series, Journal Sentinel reporters John Diedrich and Raquel Rutledge detail reckless and illegal operations carried out by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The investigation began with a tip about federal agents damaging a rental property and expanded into a nationwide scandal with relentless digging. The reporters discovered the ATF taking advantage of people with intellectual disabilities by employing them in undercover operations, giving firearms to unsupervised felons and buying stolen property that encouraged burglaries. The stories prompted the U.S. Justice Department’s inspector general to open an inquiry into the newspaper’s findings. 
Read the series here.

Contacted by e-mail, Raquel said, " It was great working with John. We've got a fantastic support network in this newsroom and couldn't ask for anything better."

Indeed, the Journal Sentinel won more than one IRE award this year.

One of the finalists in the category won by Rutledge and Diedrich was "Other Than Honorable," a series published in 2013 by the Gazette, for which Dave Philipps won the national reporting Pulitzer this year. Philipps has since accepted a reporting job with The New York Times.

In a news release, my former colleague at The Tulsa Tribune, IRE Contest Chair Ziva Branstetter, now with the Tulsa World, said the winners were chosen from more than 500 entries that demonstrated "powerful investigative journalism is being published, aired and posted at all levels and across media platforms.

"The judges were impressed with the quality of these entries, which included moving stories about powerless people, fearless probes of corrupt public officials and exposés of powerful institutions run amok," she said in the release. "They display in vivid detail that investigative journalism is alive and well across the nation and globe."

  • Favorite

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Air Canada talked about us!

Posted By on Thu, Jun 26, 2014 at 4:04 PM

  • enRoute, Catherine Lepage
I don't fly nearly enough to know what this means exactly, but as a sometimes-traveler — who needs all the distraction she can get, and that includes a spin through SkyMall — it seems pretty cool to get some love from enRoute, the Air Canada publication.

The May 29 issue's quick trip section listed five ways to "strike gold" in the Springs, including trips to Ivywild School and Summit at the Broadmoor, climbing in Garden of the Gods, a stay at the Mining Exchange and for the culture part, a visit to Range Gallery in Old Colorado City.

"A real camera fanatic — she owns 50 of them — Kathleen McFadden captures the landscapes of the American West with sensitivity and humour. On the charcoal-grey walls of her gallery in über-Western Old Colorado City, she exhibits oversize images of broken-down trailers, livestock corrals, solitary motels and more local iconography."

A sidebar discusses some of the mineral springs in Manitou (though it reads like those are in Colorado Springs as well); and did you know, you can "pamper" your muscles and kidneys with the iron- and potassium-rich waters of Iron Springs Geyser? 

And not a weed/conservative yahoo/evangelical hotbed reference in sight.

  • Favorite

Tags: , , , , ,

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Ted Haggard criticizes handling of Sheriff Maketa controversy

Posted By on Thu, Jun 5, 2014 at 4:59 PM

If you’ve been waiting for New Life Church founder Ted Haggard to weigh in on the current Sheriff Maketa controversy, the wait is over.

Banished from his own church in 2006, the scandal-ridden pastor has been preaching the gospel of tolerance ever since. In a blog posted last week titled “Should Sheriff Maketa Resign?” Haggard likens Maketa’s treatment in the press to his own.

“[Media outlets] influence us to the point that we wrongly believe we know enough about a subject to have an informed opinion,” writes Haggard. “However, many of us who have had first hand knowledge of a situation and then contrast the facts we know with news accounts, too often, find the press inept."

For those who haven’t been following the story, the El Paso County sheriff is being investigated for allegations of giving preferential treatment to subordinates with whom he's accused of having intimate relations. In a video distributed to sheriff's office employees over the weekend, and made public by the Gazette, Maketa admitted to having "engaged in inappropriate behavior in the past," but said again that he has no intention of resigning.

Haggard's post (written before that video came out) essentially cautions against a rush to judgment. Besides editorials calling for the sheriff to resign, which have appeared in both the Gazette and the Indy’s sister publication, the Colorado Springs Business Journal, county commissioners last week asked Maketa to step down.

“Once the facts are established, we all support accountability and justice,” he writes. “We have a system for that, but if we are not careful, we all might unintentionally participate in the dismantling of that system by returning to, in effect, lynch mobs. Even if the accused is guilty, shouldn’t someone protect them from the crowd until the facts are established?”

You can read the blog in its entirety here.

  • Favorite

Tags: , , , , , ,

Most Commented On

Top Topics in IndyBlog

City Gov (13)

Local News (11)

Food & Drink (6)

Outdoors (6)

Politics (6)

Most Shared Stories

Top Viewed Stories

All content © Copyright 2016, The Colorado Springs Independent   |   Website powered by Foundation