A lesson to be learned from what simulates eleven months in exile, in a manner of speaking, is to not let your own value go idly by when all hope feels lost.
While I have kept myself educated reading the news on favored topics like history, I have kept myself afloat in following how the community I grew up in has responded to the ongoing crises at hand. If my peers can be inspired to take action in some shape or form, why can’t I? This is why I am humbled to come aboard The SCV Proclaimer as its new Editor-in-Chief.
You have likely seen me at some point around town. I was among the first class of third graders at Pico Canyon Elementary School, a regular attendee of the Fourth of July fireworks show at Dr. Richard H. Rioux Memorial Park, the director of an Eagle Scout project located at Towsley Canyon and a reporter for the sole print publication in the area, The Santa Clarita Valley Signal, less than two years ago. I am not a perfect representation of what Santa Clarita is, but the city has very much shaped who I have become.
This is where I ponder on how to carry The Proclaimer forward. Growing up to become a journalist has opened my eyes to the clear stakes within my industry, my craft. The story arc of my time at California State University, Northridge, was understanding the plight of the journalism industry in Southern California (ask any of my friends and colleagues from over the years who have likely had those conversations with me; my first days studying journalism were under the legendary Adam Bratt at Rancho Pico Junior High).
Such a worry will not deter me from reopening the doors to a fresh, open space for journalists to begin, continue and thrive with their careers. I remember when The Proclaimer began in 2018 and I found myself hopeful for the growth of new media in SoCal. Not a sense of bitter competition in a town divided by national politics, but something that stood apart in a way that all good SoCal media does.
With the magnanimous help of my friend Stephen Daniels and my staff writers, the relaunch of The Proclaimer will bring an alternative take to covering the city of Santa Clarita. The burgeoning population of young people out here has developed countless communities of its own, networked across school campuses out of a sense of belonging. So many of the business owners, politicians, local celebrities and other familiar faces have made this place a welcome home for newcomers — well, so have the outcasts, the young artists and the new voices who add to the fabric of our community.
This change also welcomes fresh accountability in the post-2020 era we all live in. What was national long ago became local, with many of the divisions and “whataboutisms” now seen regularly on our streets and on our Facebook community pages. We welcome contributions to our Opinion section from all sides of the ideological spectrum, but we will not neglect the voice that cries foul in the face of real injustice. Those voices took to the streets this past year and made it known they would not accept “No” for an answer. The root of their pleas for change are the inherent realities we have swept under the rug and have chosen to ignore.
As a news website, we will not shy away from addressing those injustices and will look deeper into those who gaze back at injustice and ask “Why?” As an editor, you will have my ear. As a journalist, you will have my unwavering attention. As a gatekeeper of news and facts, you will have my integrity. Let’s go forward with the facts and leave the slurs and ad hominem attacks behind us. 2016 is so five years ago.
A professor once referred George Orwell’s “Politics and the English Language” to me as a Bible-of-sorts to justify the need to write and to not let my skills go idly by. It was not until reading the late Uruguayan journalist Eduardo Galeano where I found a superior rationale in his essay “In Defense of the Word.”
“If, as we believe, hope is preferable to nostalgia, perhaps that nascent literature may come to deserve the beauty of the social forces which, sooner or later, by hook or by crook, will radically alter the course of our history,” he wrote in 1976. “And perhaps it may help to preserve for the generations to come — in the words of the poet — ‘the true name of all things.’”