OP ED – Mary O’Keefe

This week we at CVW heard of the closure of the Glendale News-Press, Burbank Leader and La Cañada Valley Sun newspapers. From reports it appeared the announcement was made quickly without warning. This is something that a few of us at CVW can relate to – the gut punch that the paper you had dedicated so much of your life to was suddenly closing.
It is a mourning that takes two phases; the first is the loss of the articles and people that you covered and the guilt felt by not being able to continue to share their stories. The second is sudden panic that you are out of a job. This was the feeling I had when the Crescenta Valley Sun was closed over 10 years ago. I was given a choice to move to the Glendale News-Press or lose my job. I chose GNP under the assumption that I could still cover my community of Crescenta Valley; however, that option changed. I was lucky enough to have a good friend, Robin Goldsworthy, who was starting her own local paper – the CV Weekly. Robin was also a victim of the closure of the Crescenta Valley Sun. I can’t imagine, though, what the staff of the Valley Sun, News-Press and Leader is going through, especially in this time of COVID-19.
I have worked alongside those reporters and photographers for years. They are professional and dedicated. I met photographer Raul Roa at event after event. He is not only a talented photographer but also an amazing man. We would talk about our community and our families at the many events we both covered. Tim Berger, another amazing photographer, was at the events Raul wasn’t shooting. He also teaches journalism and photography at Pasadena City College and, in fact, was reporter Charly Shelton’s professor at the college. Both Charly and I will miss their faces when covering CV and Glendale events.
Although there was competition between papers, we never felt competition with the writers or the photographers because we were all dedicated to keeping community news alive. Whenever a local paper closes it is not a win for other local papers but a fear that this may be a warning for the future. CVW has encountered this fear since it opened its doors and we know how tough it is to keep these doors open but we also know how important it is to fight like hell to keep doing what we are doing.
Our motivation at CVW is the love of our community. We see how hard the teachers work to keep our kids educated and healthy, and how hard working our hospital staffs are who risk their lives for all of us, and the workers who continue to go to work at essential businesses despite concern of COVID-19. We see how cautious those people are who stay home and cover their faces when they go out because they are concerned about their fellow community members. Our first responders run toward each emergency, whether it is fire, flood, a car over the side of the Crest or protecting the citizens and, despite the negative comments from some, our elected officials continue to take our calls and keep us informed because they too care about the community. We report on our amazing community kids who proudly perform so many community service hours and are working so hard to adapt during this COVID-19 new way of learning.
I want our readers to know that although I don’t seem to get much sleep and I get over 1,500 emails a day, I absolutely love my job and feel so privileged that this community has been so supportive. We have worked hard to give you the facts without opinion in our news stories and at our very foundation respect our readers enough to know they will take those facts and develop their own opinions, even if those opinions vary from neighbor to neighbor.
Keeping a local newspaper open is not easy especially in this COVID-19 world but, with your support, not just through advertising and subscriptions but by your kind words, we are keeping the lights on.