By Richard Beaty
A community without a press is a community that is out of touch with the world and out of communication within itself. The need for a local free press is often overlooked beneath the onslaught of infotainment that engulfs us every day through our phones, our televisions, and our social feeds. But this tidal wave of unevaluated data tends to overvalue certain viewpoints and reflect back our own ideas without providing any context or judgment. Further, we all have a tendency to focus on things far away and “newsworthy” while in one’s own backyard many schemes, situations, and developments occur daily without one’s knowing.
To be able to sit quietly and read a thoughtful analysis of ongoing situations is the beginning of forming an opinion. And an informed citizenry is the key to a functioning town, city, state, or democracy. When people don’t know and don’t communicate, we get lies, misinformation, discord, and chaos. There is a lot going on — much of it not so good — and you need your local paper to stay in the know!
Tahoe is a unique environment. We have the jewel of the lake and the mountains all around us. But these natural treasures attract those who would try to benefit from them regardless of the result. We see this in the loss of clarity in the lake, and the excess noise and traffic that is now a daily occurrence in South Lake Tahoe (and spreading northwards up both the East and West shores). We see this in the lack of housing for year-round residents driven out by over-entitled second homeowners and outright developers who put profit before concern for the locals. In this contentious and often hostile and fraud-filled environment, only in-depth independent journalism can be relied on to point out the best avenues for citizens to support.
We live in Kings Beach where my wife grew up. (She’s a native Californian and Truckee High school graduate!) I grew up in New York City where reading the local papers is an absolute daily must-do event for millions of locals. I still read the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the UK Guardian, and Moonshine Ink’s work compares well with theirs. The recent piece delving into the divided wildfire practices of the United States Forest Service and Cal Fire, Fanning the Flames, is an excellent example of how independent reporting can bring about a better result for the local citizenry. Pieces on development in Homewood and Tahoe Keys stand out in my mind as excellent exposés of runaway development.
Moonshine Ink focuses on the issues that affect the North Shore, and in my mind this area is the last, best holdout against development in the Basin. The Tahoe Tribune and Sierra Sun are also praise-worthy, of course, but their viewpoints are spread thinly throughout the Tahoe area and their local coverage tends towards lighter news. Moonshine Ink takes the time and spends the money to do in-depth reporting that really can shine a bright light on local hotspots and expose bad actors before they do too much damage.
I encourage all those reading this to support Moonshine Ink with subscription dollars and careful reading!