Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Advice to the lovelorn Benicia Herald contributor

Never pursue a distancer.

This is a cardinal rule in love.  Because neediness is not sexy.  Begging never pays.

So, if the man of your dreams takes a step back, you take one too.  Or, at the very least, stand your ground.

If you advance toward a distancer, you will most likely set in motion a fruitless and embarrassing series of desperate actions that will leave you feeling foolish at best.

That’s how it seems these days with the Benicia Herald. 

We had a sweet little love affair.  Is it over?

Oh, maybe some would say it was one-sided.  Contributors contributed.  The Herald accepted.  It might seem that the paper got the better end of the deal.  Who wouldn’t want to sit back and receive what he required without effort or acknowledgement?

The Herald needed us, or so we thought.  We filled the pages.  Why, without us, the character – and characters – of our town are absent.  Our small town paper’s charm is diminished.  

In his farewell, the out-going editor said we made up an important thread in the fabric of the community.  Our contributions, he said, made our little hometown paper “a gem.”  We’re left with dry reports of impersonal city government, the generic community calendar and another full-page map of First Street merchants.

The paper has stepped away from us.  Or more accurately, Publisher David Payne has.

From one person’s limited viewpoint, Mr. Payne keeps the Herald like a step-child – neglected and listless for want of support and appreciation.  His talented editorial staff and reporters, forced to accept that he finds their needs a nuisance, decided not to pursue their relationship with him.  They left him for cleaner, shinier shores where they will likely be treated well and paid better.

Reliable sources say Mr. Payne hired one promising candidate, but apparently she took a closer look and excused herself.  Scuttlebutt has it that interviews continue, but Mr. Payne “hasn’t found anyone he likes.”  That works both ways, of course.

Why doesn’t the Herald report its own story?  The only mention of the shake up comprised a one sentence “pardon our construction” disclaimer below the date and weather report two weeks ago.

And now, contributors cannot get a return phone call or email.  Articles submitted garner no response, no ink.  What are we to think in a case like this?

Should we pursue the Herald?  Plead with it to accept our work?  Take us back!  Please take us back!

Advice to the lovelorn says ‘no.’

We can, at best, stand our ground.  Wait to see if the new Herald will be the same Herald – the one we loved and that loved us.  The one that seemed to value our work even if we weren’t paid for it. 

And here I am – writing again.  For what?  Page 4 goes to the Chamber of Commerce.