Phoenix Journalists: The Good, The Bad And The Irrelevant
In response to this post, someone asked me what local journalists I respect.
Here in Phoenix, although we have a mostly-dysfunctional media, there are some excellent journalists struggling against the corporate suppression of news.
Even though the Arizona Republic is known among local journalists as The Repulsive, it still has such fine reporters as Dennis Wagner and Robert Anglen, and columnist Laurie Roberts, and novelist and crime reporter Michael Kiefer. Sadly, it no longer has Charles Kelly, Jon Talton, Mark Shaffer or David Leibowitz, but it has retained the dull and predictable E.J. Montini (does he ever leave his office to do any reporting?) and its resident Latino Uncle Tom, Richard Ruelas (who for an embarrassing few years was the paper’s metro columnist along with Montini - a double act of impressive ineptitude).
Terry Greene Sterling, who writes for various publications, is a meticulous and relentless reporter, and so is John Dougherty, who recently ran for the U.S. Senate.
My alma mater, Phoenix New Times, no longer has Dougherty or Sterling or M.V. Moorhead on staff, but Stephen Lemons does outstanding coverage of Arpaio and the local nativists, and Robrt Pela’s cultural reporting and commentary is insightful and elegant. (Pela is not on staff there, but does a lot of freelance for the paper.)
T.V. reporter Joe Dana does strong work, even in the face of vicious personal slurs from Arpaio’s henchman David Hendershott. (I rarely watch T.V., so there may be other reporters worthy of mention that I don’t know about.)
The Arizona Guardian is one of the better news sources here, perhaps the best, though the level of talent among its reporters varies widely.
Farther afield, in Tucson, lives Charles Bowden, a truly great reporter and one of the greatest living writers in English.