I had another post on the boards for today, until I read the morning paper.
If memory serves me right, Rich Laden joined the Gazette in 1988. He was assigned to the city beat and quickly taught me, a rookie councilmember at the time, many good lessons about the relationship between media members and elected representatives, and how those in the medial can get a story. Laden was very good at his job and always a man of integrity. Laden was one of many young reporters at the Gazette in those days, working with Barry Noreen and Wayne Heilman. In a few years they would be joined by Pam Zubeck, giving the Gazette an excellent core of reporters serving the community and holding public officials accountable. Unfortunately times have changed. The Gazette has morphed from the canary-in-the-coal-mine to just another booster for Colorado Springs.
Rich Laden had a piece in the paper today about Steve Bach and the impact he might have as the first strong mayor of Colorado Springs. The article is mostly a rehash of what we have been reading for months; a few new quotes, here and there, but little new until almost the end of the article. Laden completely buries the lead in the fourth paragraph from the end, and then all but walks away from it.
To parlay the cheer leader analogy attributed to Dennis Donovan in the article, so what if the Colorado Buffaloes have the best cheer leaders in the nation, if the football team has no talent, they are still a losing team. There are many factors evaluated by a company when it decides whether to move or where to locate an office or manufacturing location. The article would have been much more informative and useful had Laden listed and reviewed the most influential factors, evaluated whether city government can affect how Colorado Springs measures up to those factors, and then discussed what influence, if any, the mayor can have on how well Colorado Springs meets those factors.
Maybe next time.