Joe Cashen: Paper’s poor impression
February 15, 2013
I am writing to publicly air my disappointment in the Steamboat Today's decision to print the Rob Douglas column about marijuana as a front-page article in Friday's newspaper, since Friday happened to be one of our community's busiest days for tourism.
Nothing at all against Rob. I generally like his articles, including this one. My complaint is with the front page placement and the potentially negative impact it could have on Steamboat's tourism industry — an industry that feeds a lot of hard-working families throughout the Yampa Valley and an industry that spends a substantial amount of money advertising with the Steamboat Today.
This letter is not about the many varying opinions for and against Amendment 64 and recreational marijuana use. This letter is asking the Steamboat Today to explain why it would choose to "front page" an editorial, with no newsworthy purpose whatsoever, in order to blatantly highlight an issue that divides us as humans during such a pivotal time in our local tourism economy.
As our hospitality industry welcomes thousands of families and friends from all across the country and world to enjoy our town, I see no good (and plenty of bad) reasons to call unnecessary attention to this issue Friday, of all days.
Too many local people have worked too hard and spent too much money to attract these visitors and prepare for their arrival. It is unfortunate that our local media outlet, our public voice to the outside world, would undermine all of our collective efforts and resources for a little flash-in-the-pan sensationalism. It reminded me of when the Pilot & Today printed its award-winning "House of Cards" series (the one about the demise of our local real estate market) right at the start of a big Wine Festival/Triple Crown weekend a few years back. Make no mistake, their advertising customers from the real estate industry didn't appreciate it one bit.
Let's celebrate our incredible snow (best in the state), let's highlight something positive like the recent Nordic combined success of the Fletcher boys. Let's talk about the meteor in Russia or a few of the philanthropic efforts hard-working locals have put in motion lately.
Ultimately, let's make a better first impression.