- Author: Jeannette E. Warnert
Los Angeles Times freelance writer David Karp sent a response today to last week's ANR News Blog post about his May 27 blueberry production story. The nicely written article covered the introduction of a crop usually associated with the Northwest, Michigan and Maine into California; it didn't go into UC's role.
Karp wrote in his e-mail that he agonized over what to include in the article, given the amount of space he would have in the newspaper. He interviewed more than 40 sources, but only had room to cite two.
"If I had room to cite the contribution of three or four persons, and explain what they did, I would certainly have cited (UC Small Farm Program farm advisors) Manuel (Jimenez) and Mark (Gaskell)," Karp wrote. "I'm quite aware of their very substantial contributions to California's blueberry industry."
Karp mentioned that he spent two months of his life and thousands of dollars of his own money to research the article because, "I'm passionate about writing about fruit only when I really know what I'm talking about."
In conclusion, he said, "I apologize to Manuel (Jimenez) and Mark (Gaskell), Ben (Faber) and Gary (Bender) and others, but I'd like to think that they understand that in telling a shortened version of the full story for a newspaper, writers face difficult choices."
As a reporter, it is a challenge to interview a large cast and tell a concise story. And while some readers can understand one article in a major paper is just a story--the best that could be told in given space--others read it as something definitive. The flipside is I've had farm advisors tell me they can't talk to another reporter after one burns them with nothing to show from hours of chatting.
For a relatively small program like ours--which includes farm advisors Manuel Jimenez, Mark Gaskell and others--proving the merit of our achievements is an ongoing struggle to maintain university & federal grant support. Fair or not, newspaper articles count when it comes to public credit. The hard truth is there may come a time when our work won't be available to be taken for granted.
Thanks for shedding some light on this issue. That is a primary difference between newspapers & blogs, right? Space! ... But maybe he'll remember us the next go 'round?