February 1, 2019

By Jacque Ritchie

In the democratic system that shepherds the society we hold so dear there are three co-equal branches of government. There is the executive branch that includes the president and the cabinet and various west wing inhabitants. Then we have the legislative branch that is made up of senators and congresspeople that craft and occasionally pass laws. Then you have your judicial branch that includes the supreme court and the justice department who interpret and enforce said laws. Finally we have, what has long been considered the 'fourth estate' and that would be the only industry that enjoys constitutional protection, the press.

Amendment 1. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or the press or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances .

Many moons ago in journalism school, my professors went to great lengths to impress upon us, their wide-eyed oh so hopeful students our sacred role as 'gatekeepers.' Basically the main job of the media or free independent press is to watch over the 'powers that be' so they don't run-a-muck.

According Bloomberg, "Local news is dying, and taking small town America with it." Evidently towns that lose their local newspapers see an up tick in over-all crime, including municipal government dishonesty, municipal bond costs rise, increases in government expense, a drop in voter participation and, "More broadly, towns without serious local news coverage demonstrate less social cohesion, corroding any actual sense of community." (Griffith,Riley,11/23/2018

In closing, TALON is a valuable resource and an asset to our town that lends directly to Aztec's quality of life. Here's hoping some individual or group steps up to the challenge as new publisher and editor in the near future.

I want to thank to J.R. Sykes for being an amazing boss and a damn fine human being over-all. Thanks to J.R. and the entire TALON family for allowing me the opportunity to serve the community as a writer for the past two years. Thank you to all the folks that have allowed me to tell your incredible stories it's been an honor. Finally, I want to thank you, gentle reader for all your thoughtful comments and encouragement through controversy, tragedy and joy. We have been through a lot together. It's been a helluva ride.


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