By Mike Rogge

It’s no secret that in a town of our size — if we can even call our many micro-communities one collective “town,” but bear with me here — word gets around quickly. Unfortunately, in this day and age of social media (looking at you, Truckee Tahoe People, and every single group that spawned from it) we’re playing one big adult version of telephone where the truth gets further and further away every time some B.S. is shared. And that’s not good for discourse, progress, or any sort of harmony.

We face actual and burgeoning problems here in North Lake Tahoe. In the growing nuance of real-world problems, we need a voice that’s objective, allowing key players to share their perspectives, and for facts to rise to the surface.

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Fortunately, we have independent journalism at Moonshine Ink. Journalism has ethics, rules, and standards. In short, it’s not driven by dopamine internet hits, but getting facts right. Tracking down and verifying those facts is a thankless job, especially since everyone and their cat is a self-proclaimed “doing my own research” expert these days. In my experience, by the way, doing your own research is a quick YouTube fix. Stop using that phrase.

Okay, okay, okay. Before this divulges further into an old-man-yells-at clouds meme, I want to tell you why I pick up copies of Moonshine Ink and donate annually to their membership program. The news is nuanced, see above, and all that time and effort to get the facts right isn’t free. It can be supported by advertising, but that shouldn’t be the only source to rely on. I value knowing what’s actually happening in our community versus what people assume is happening. The stories in this paper have depth. They go deeper than any other outlet in the surrounding area. And, best of all, they encourage me personally to get more engaged in the conversation and to learn more. That’s worth every penny.

We also face not-so-serious-real problems like Teslas without snow tires in the ditches off 267 (for Glen Plake’s sake, buy snow tires for that $100k vehicle, people). Moonshine shines in this aspect, too. A Mike English cartoon is good for a slight diss and a laugh, the community calendar reminds me we need to go see Santa at Northstar (because of course he’s an Epic Pass holder), or which restaurants are opening in the area. It shines a light on the incredible creators, innovators, bartenders, wait staff, front and back of house workers, educators, firefighters, teachers, tech startups, small business owners, athletes, movers, shakers, and dogs, lots and lots of dogs, that make up our town. The only thing we have more of in this town than dogs are real estate agents. That’s not a fact, by the way, but a joke.

Moonshine, though, doesn’t influence our town. It’s not in it for the likes or dislikes. It’s holding up a mirror to who we are as a community. Frankly, when I open up the pages of this paper, I really like what I see and where we’re headed. I have hope for the future of North Lake Tahoe, because our local, alternative, funky, serious, and funny paper is here to tell us what’s real and what’s not.

I once read that the mark of a good town is the quality of its local newspaper. Using that logic, we’re an exceptional town and one I’m proud to call home. So, thanks Moonshine for all that you do. And to you, the reader — if you made it this far, consider adding a membership to your holiday shopping this year.

~ Mike Rogge is the editor/owner of Mountain Gazette, a biannual outdoor culture magazine. He lives in Tahoe Vista with wife, Meghan, and their two sons who were born at Tahoe Forest and remind him all the time he’s not a real local.

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