Alfred made a difference here. For too long we'd become accustomed to a kind of journalism that only took the big development side when reporting on Sierra Madre's struggles with regional and Sacramento mandated housing and commercial properties demands. The politicians opposed to Sierra Madre maintaining its independent status would often garner the most ink in the Pasadena Star News, and their points of view would be presented as being the more reasoned and respectable.
The great California condo and commercial properties glut didn't just happen, it took the compliance of many different facets of society, including the press.
But Alfred was different. He functioned more as a traditional news reporter. If an issue was important to Sierra Madre, he would call people on all sides of that issue. Having received those calls from time to time, I can tell you that his questions were incisive and informed. The guy did his homework. And the resulting story would reflect this evenhanded approach, and would inform the readers of his paper about what was really going on, rather than what somebody wanted you to believe.
The tragedy of print journalism today is that it is having tremendous difficulty competing with the internet. I receive two newspapers on my doorstep every morning, and yet the first place I go to find out what is going on is my computer. It is convenient, it offers you thousands of news outlets from all over the world and, sadly for the newspaper industry, it is free. And because of this advertising revenues for the printed press have plummeted. Many papers have perished, while others struggle just to stay afloat.
And unfortunately for the sometimes honorable profession of journalism many print news organizations, in order to maintain needed advertising revenues, found that they needed to publish only those articles pleasing to that clientele. This, coupled with newsroom cutbacks, often resulted in reporting more concerned with seeing to the needs of advertisers than informing their readership. It was a stopgap measure that was destined to fail as circulation figures continued to plummet. Many more thoughtful subscribers no longer saw any reason to read papers that obviously had become little more than dependable outlets for corporate marketing.
Anyway Alfred, you'll be missed around here. Your old school approach to the news was remarkable in that you didn't just do it well, but also because you did what so few others are doing these days, reporting what is really going on. In these times that is an almost radical act.
Bonus Coverage: Little League Opening Day Ceremonies have been postponed yet again as rains threaten to harsh on another weekend in paradise. Many of the traditional kick off (or should that be opening pitch) ceremonies are being moved to the end of the season as scheduling now becomes more challenging. My kids are not happy.