We've got plenty of opinions coming to us from readers and commenters on TucsonWeekly.com and the Tucson Weekly Facebook page regarding the story of KVOA anchor Allison Alexander and Tucson Fire Department Public Information Officer Barrett Baker ("What Was the Fire Department PIO Doing in a Car With a KVOA Anchor?", The Range, March 7) and the fact that the two were detained for a few hours by police on a side street north of downtown on Valentine's Day.
Some were supportive, many were negative, and we got a number of tongue-lashings from media professionals who were a bit perturbed about the way we ran the story.
I don't claim to speak for the entirety of the newsroom, as we tend to have a number of conflicting opinions, even for a collective of dyed-red-in-the-wool, tree-hugging, commie socialists. But honestly, this is the kind of story that needs to be told by this publication.
As noted by Weekly editor Dan Gibson in the original post, "newspapers and other non-TV news outlets have stayed away from the Alexander/Baker situation, despite the fact that seemingly every media outlet in town has the police report in hand."
Call this gossip, a non-story, whatever. In my opinion, Tucson Weekly, as the scrappy kid brother of this city's feuding media family, has an obligation to hold people in this town accountable—to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable, as former editor Jimmy Boegle loved to say. That can be a messy business, and sometimes it causes collateral damage, as with the families of Baker and Alexander. That's not fair to them.
But it wasn't fair to TPD officer Diana Lopez to get raked over the coals for what her former romantic partners distributed. It wasn't fair for Martha Vazquez to get forced out for shoplifting while Brandon Gunnoe's DUI was seemingly a non-issue to KVOA.
This story is just as much a look into the unspoken agreements made by media outlets around town (television, radio, print and web-only alike) as it is into whether or not Baker and Alexander were breaking any laws or wasting public resources with whatever they were doing in that car.
We aren't perfect, but we're willing to be held accountable.
Baker, Alexander and this town's media should too.
On the Range, we got freaked out by webcam rattlers; celebrated alt-rockers ripping it up on public golf courses; learned that science can print us new body parts; signed a petition to make R. Kelly the modern Francis Scott Key; covered Gabby Giffords's return to the Safeway where she was nearly assassinated; looked forward to Daniel Patterson's potential run for office; celebrated the return of food trucks to Weekly World Central; and so much more!
On We Got Cactus, we mourned the loss of Jesus Acedo; noted Carly Rae Jepsen's stand against the Boy Scouts; did a horse dance in celebration of the return of Gangnam Style; chatted with Josh Haden about the return of Spain; listened to the latest release from The Cordials; and more!
"'Whether you agree with that idea is something else entirely, but still it's just a ceremonial measure.' HAHA. Ceremonial, like a funeral? Sorry. I think Tucson has just been chosen for a Pentagon closed circuit reality show. But don't worry. Everything will be okay if you're (sic) papers are in order. Good luck."
—TucsonWeekly.com commenter "Chris Hardaker," who might still be taking this "martial law" thing too seriously ("If You're Freaking Out About Martial Law, Calm Down," The Range, March 6).
As of this writing, we've now vaulted over the 9,000 like mark on Facebook, and are (slowly but surely) climbing northward with our Twitter followers. Unfortunately, our interns are currently away on spring break, so any celebration videos we may use them as props for will have to wait. But, as of the moment you read this, we'll take your suggestions for (legal) ways to celebrate this momentous (read: mildly interesting) achievement. Thanks, friends and followers!