Chase Woodruff is angry and he thinks you should be too
Filled with compassion for the families of those who have died maybe cynicism in the coverage of politicians motives and a ton of data analysis to interpret the numbers were bombarded with chase woodruff. A journalist WHO's recently been laid off from his ult- weekly job in Denver. Colorado thinks that's all fine but not enough. What's missing from the media's content checklist he says is anger? This is from his website quote as I spent the last two months. Try to keep up with all the ways. The world was suddenly changing all the pain being inflicted that we couldn't see it was anger. That kept me going. I held onto anger. Like a lifeline. Thrown into a sea of fear and despair. That was otherwise going to swallow me whole amid the slow and painful. Death of newspapers woodruff worries that such anger will be a casualty. Righteous indignation has always been a staple of the ultra weekly world that world he until recently inhabited and as those feisty all weeklies die off at an even more rapid pace than dailies. He fears that lost to will be vital outlets for resistance and emotion. Chase on the media. Thanks for having me. You begin your essay by citing one of the last pieces you wrote for Westword Denver based on weekly. It made you mad to right and it made you mad to think about it weeks later why the story was about a woman who worked at a Walmart here in suburban Denver and her name was Sandy. Coons she was seventy two years old. She was on oxygen because of a lung condition and was forced to work throughout a deadly pandemic in a low wage job. She was a cashier. That's the highest risk job in the store and she passed away. She contracted the virus. We don't know exactly how the store was later. Shut down. Because due to an outbreak there ultimately three deaths connected to the store including Sandy's husband who also passed away and it still makes me angry to think about it to to think about deadly pandemic or not that we are a country where a seventy two year old woman who needs supplemental. Oxygen needs to work to survive and to make ends meet and yeah. It's it's one of tens of thousands perhaps by the end of this hundreds of thousands of stories like this and it makes me angry because didn't need to be this way and this was as other countries have proven a largely preventable public health disaster. Now what you wrote and what you just said practically trembles with righteous indignation. Where especially compared to the mainstream dailies has been The stock in trade if you were former employer westward and I think all weeklies in general but not. Just generalize pissed off at the anger. Typically has immoral bent you quote village voice legend. Jack Newfield saying quote compassion without anger can become merely sentiment or pity knowledge without anger stagnate into your cynicism and apathy. Anger improves lucidity persistence. Audacity and memory the key thing about anger and expressing anger and sort of being a platform for anger. Anger has a direction to it. Right if you're telling someone to be angry or or telling someone that it's okay that they're angry. You are telling them to be angry at for Jack Newfield. At his dad the village voice it was greedy landlords and corrupt politicians and industrial polluters. And we need that. And unfortunately as as I've learned and as so many other people have learned who have been employed by the alternative for in the last couple of decades it is shrinking and there are fewer and fewer of those opportunities to practice that kind of aggressive antagonistic journalism that he advocated for. How did that new field insensibility guide public interest reporting you and westward did in Denver just north of Denver oil and gas fields the country there has been a huge boom in drilling and fracking over the last ten years and it is happening right on the doorstep of Metropolitan Denver. It is happening within suburban communities in many cases there are fracking pads that are less than a half mile from people's homes and certainly there groundwater yes absolutely and you can imagine the conflict that has created. There was an incident in two thousand seventeen where two people died in a home explosion that was caused by a nearby oil gas. Well has such clear moral stakes to it and such a clear narrative of neglect and I would argue wrongdoing and it is not a good fit for the traditional mode of journalism. It's infuriating to to hear stories of mothers who to believe. Their children have been poisoned by a nearby fracking. Well or to read the story of a predominantly Latino low income school that had a fracking rig popped up right next to a playground and to then pick up the Denver Post or whoever it may be and see that he said she said to put people who have been impacted by this the people who have have faced these negative health consequences to put them on a level moral plainfield field with a quote from an ASTROTURF turfed big oil backed industry group that wants to claim that all of this is safe. And there's nothing to worry about an climate changes overblown and all the other bullshit that they trot out and there's sort of an Amnesiac to how the coverage is produced. Jack Newfield says that one of the things anger improves his memory and to have a an institutional or collective memory to say we the press. We understand what this press. Release that we've gotten from a Colorado oil and gas trade group. We understand what they represent and whose interests they're fighting for and we should treat them differently because.