If you've missed any of our reporting over the last year or so as it relates specifically to recent sexual assault cases in Ouray County, no worries. A local neighboring publication, printed weekly and tossed hither and thither, took the liberty of lifting our work and ever so gently massaging it into their own last week.
But Alan, you say, you reprint snippets from the Gunnison, Lake City, Silverton and Montrose papers. And you've been known to reprint entire stories from a few of these publications.
Oh, so true, our ever watchful reader. We have a working relationship with these papers and willingly trade back and forth. When we reference other area papers, we use it to augment our own work, not as the roux for our gumbo. And when we reprint entire stories, we reprint entire stories. No changes. No trying to make it look like our own. Full attribution and permission.
But this business of blurring the lines of proprietary work, like some poorly written high school term paper, is just plain shoddy.
Did this particular area flyer ask our permission? Yes. Was it given permission? No, because we knew what the result would be: a long, drawn out piece that mostly summarized our reporting.
This local circular did it anyway. Sure, it mentioned us as a source here or there, but in other places the work was nearly identical to ours, with only a word or phrase altered or massaged, and no attribution given.
Shoot, we could've written that. Come to think of it, I'm pretty sure we did!
There are parts, however, that we would never have written. If you read this synopsis of our labor, sprinkled with some unique yet listless comments, you likely read some liberties taken by the writer that avoided even the edges of professional work. These are things you would not catch us doing.
For instance, calling an accuser a "victim" without the case having yet gone to trial or having yet been settled. That isn't reporting, it's judging. That's something you won't catch us doing. No one is a victim unless that status has been decided in court.
And publishing the name of an underage accuser's mother (thus, in effect, identifying the underage accuser), is something else you won't catch us doing.
Just goes to show, you can paraphrase the heck out of someone else's work, but you can't copy ethics.
Ah, peace and quiet. All set up in a campground this past weekend, south of Lake City, somewhere around 9,300 feet. It's frosty, but the heater's working. It's a bit rainy, but the camper's dry. The fish are cooperating, but they, too, are taking a slow, relaxing approach to fall.
We passed up one campground at 8,000 feet, even though it was unoccupied, because we've camped there before and we wanted a loftier adventure.
We had company at our chosen campground, which was located along the Alpine Loop. And it quickly became apparent why.
The buzz and whir and churn of the infestation of all terrain vehicles zipping through camp, up and down the Alpine Loop was a dead giveaway. The lower campground we passed on had no access to ATV routes, thus no buzzing and whirring.
Loftier aspirations aren't always the best aspirations.
Nothing says fall color viewing like strapping into an overgrown lawnmower with state-of-the-art suspension, wearing every warm piece of clothing you own and getting all covered in mud slung from your buddy's motorized contraption that's ripping up the road only 10 feet in front of you.
Just when we were getting used to it all, the campers we feared most moved in on day two. There were a lot of them, and it seemed there was at least a 2-to-1 human-to-dog ratio. They all barked and screeched. Even the dogs.
One dog, whom we affectionately nicknamed "Princess," was slight of build, but well-endowed with strong vocal chords and an outward anger toward everything.
Princess, though, was no dummy. She had it all figured out.
Princess would bark at who-knows-what, in a shrill, dire tone, the sound of which is probably still hovering somewhere over Slumgullion Pass. This would cause her well-trained owners to yell and bark at Princess to “Shut up!" in equally piercing tones.
Proud of their orchestrated chorus, dog and owners would take a brief break to let their work resonate, just long enough for us to settle into our camping chairs, listen to the fire crackle and hear the upper Lake Fork of Gunnison slosh and ripple.
Then, just when everyone in the campground had begun to cozy up to nature's quietude, Princess would rip through the serenity in a vicious a cappella, drawing the ire of her owners, leaving little distinction between man and beast. This one-two duet continued for hours.
We picked up and packed up and moved downstream to 8,000 feet, where there were no dogs, barking humans nor ATVs competing for our attention.