Newspaper’s Death Exaggerated
by Peter Shelton
May 27, 2009 | 992 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print

Dear Readers. I am happy to say that the Colona Current-Telegraph is alive and, as a matter of fact, thriving. Other media, including some big-time newspapers out there, have been crying the imminent demise of newsprint and its attendant role in America’s fragile democracy, brought down by the Internet, falling ad revenues and the rise of the amateur blogosphere.

But here in Colona the spirit of investigative journalism, the drive to keep you informed – and print it! – lives on. And not just because of the unusually high number of birdcage liners required in a community this size.

Why just now, as I type these words, I am preparing the latest in my series on official expense-account corruption in Colona city government. (Those British tabloids have nothing on us!) Last week I revealed the brazen appropriation of public funds by councilmember Mavis Gibb—for daffodil bulbs, which she planted next to the stop sign.

“I thought I’d maybe spruce up the corner there where folks turn onto the county road. Give the town a little friendlier vibe. The money was just there in the cigar box marked PARKS AND RECREATION. I thought…well, I never thought this would turn into such a big thing. You want I should let it go back to highway litter?”

In tomorrow’s edition I reveal the shocking story of Mayor Willoughby’s unauthorized use of government largesse. How he siphoned gas out of the town pickup, put the gas in his weed burner and fired the ditch running behind his place. In his defense the mayor simply sputtered, said the taste of gasoline in his mouth ought to be penance enough. Boy is he misuderestimating local outrage over these ongoing revelations!

There’s more. A lot more. I’ll soon be revealing the results of my exhaustive study on aging in Colona. Clive Bourbon, our town’s lone octogenarian (though he would never use the word) has been sharing with your reporter the secrets to his incredible longevity. I don’t want to reveal too much here—pick up the Friday special edition wherever the Current-Telegraph is sold. I will leave you with this teaser from Clive’s many gems: “You gotta start young if you want to stick it out.”

Rest assured the Current-Telegraph will stay abreast of the continuing scandal surrounding Miss Colona USA and her stunning public statement to the effect that eating beef may not be the grooviest thing to do given the emerging world food crisis and the fact that it takes 10 times as much grain to produce an equivalent amount of calories from a beef critter.

I’m also on top of the breaking rumors about President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee. Photos of Judge Sonia Sotomayor online look suspiciously like that sweet girl behind the counter at Don Gilberto’s across the street from City Market where they make those delicious carne asada burritos. Who can say with the World Wide Web? I’m tracking the truth on that one.

It goes without saying I will follow every lead, including the rumor that I myself have infiltrated the Colona Grange. The story as I hear it is that I have faked membership in the grange in order to foment rebellion. Most grange members are too polite to say so, but many believe that Ouray County is about to, or has in fact already approved a communist-inspired Master Plan, and that zoning can’t be far behind. I ask you, though, why would I need to manufacture news when there is so much out there to report on?

Finally, I will be adding a special section to Sunday’s already massive paper devoted to the stimulus package. (How many of you can get through all the Sunday sections by the time the next Sunday rolls around? Be honest.) I’ve been wondering why the only stimulus action we see is on the highway, where friendly and efficient road crews will be stopping us for five to ten minutes at a time as we try to get where we needed to be fifteen minutes ago all summer long.

I’m going to request a modest federal stipend for the incredibly essential job I do speaking truth to power. Specifically, I’m asking for enough to hire a journalism intern, someone who can relieve me of a bit of my work load so I can concentrate on the Colona Current-Telegraph Review of Books. To lose that, my readers tell me, would be the greatest of publishing tragedies.

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