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The (white) couple behind the day workers

May 28, 2008

If I didn’t know better, I’d say Mexicans are boycotting the Voice. The last three articles about the Latino community have relied almost exclusively on people from outside the Latino community for information.

But this is one of the few times in my life that I do, in fact, know better. The best book I ever read about journalism contained a list of what readers like, with talking heads at the very bottom, ahead of only “numbers.” (At the top of the list? Furry animals, followed by small children). As you might imagine, though, it turns out that it’s much easier to get a quote from a talking head than from somebody you’ve never met before that isn’t accustomed to talking to the press.

That’s why the most recent feature story on the day worker center was about a white couple from Los Altos, a story on the deportation of day worker and youth leader Luciano Casiano-Miranda relied on Phil Cosby for perspective*, and a story about the graduation ceremony of sorts for English learners quoted only Maurice Ghysels and Judy Crates (and that one was about Latinos who speak English, no less). Ironically, only the story about the couple from Los Altos had an original quote from a Latino, and it was from Maria Marroquin, director of the center.

Don’t get me wrong, I like white people as much as the next guy. But if 40 percent of students in the Mountain View school district really are Latino, it would be nice to hear from one of them once in a while. Unfortunately, given its reliance on real estate advertisements, the paper is more likely to boycott Mexicans and other non-home-buying populations, rather than al reves.

UPDATE: The story on Caciano-Miranda included a lifted quote from him, though the source unknown. And Maria also has a quote — as does John Rinaldi — in a story about the unexpected cost of the day worker center’s new location. Looks like it’s time to get in touch with those white folks from Los Altos again.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. Anonymous permalink
    May 28, 2008 5:02 am

    Seems like you are a bit too cynical. Do you think there is some sort of conspiracy here?

    Perhaps some more LA sun/fun time would help.

    The Professor

  2. Nemesis of Evil permalink
    May 28, 2008 8:00 am

    Good to have you back. I was going to resort to posting about high school baseball to see if you were still reading. Please don’t mistake my high expectations for cynicism. All I mean is that there is a consistent deficiency in the Voice’s coverage, and based on my experience, the people at the top don’t put pressure on the writers to correct it.

    And more time in L.A. never helps.

  3. Anonymous permalink
    May 30, 2008 7:19 am

    No more HS baseball. Have been very busy following Sonoma State baseball every weekend. Currently in Illinois with team at D2 College World Series. One more win and they are in the finals.

    The Professor

  4. Anonymous permalink
    May 30, 2008 3:41 pm

    Jon,

    The abiding criticism from you is that we ignore Latinos. Yet you recently admitted that your own coverage, during your several years as a writer here, had the same problem.

    Not that this negates your argument exactly, but how can you be so sanctimonious about something you yourself are guilty of? What are you, some kind of Scott McClellan?

    Just Curious,
    Don

  5. Nemesis of Evil permalink
    June 2, 2008 12:20 am

    Joseph McClellan is getting rich off of his sanctimony. Mine is for my own amusement.

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