Allow me to reintroduce myself. My name is José Torres. I tend to downplay what I do for the paper, but today will be a little different. If you’re a sports fan or even just a supporter of Gonzales County athletics, you may have seen me on the sidelines of games with my camera, press pass and sometimes backwards cap on.
For the past five years, I enjoyed telling people I just do sports, mainly because I’ve vowed to never take myself too seriously, especially with this job. But if you look in the staff box, found on the left side of page 4 in the newspaper, right underneath the title Managing Editor is my name, José Torres.
That’s right, someone had the brilliant idea of making their sports guy the managing editor.
So why did I spend over 100 words explaining who I am? Well, it seems like people have forgotten who I am, especially when a select few went a little crazy over a game report.
Last Tuesday, the Gonzales Lady Apaches played their first game of the season. It was a home loss to the Universal City Randolph Ro-Hawks, a four-set loss (meaning they lost three sets to one in a best-of-five match which is what’s usually played in non-tournament volleyball games). During the post-game interview, the head coach told me that the team came close, but “after giving them 10 or 12 points, it’s too hard” to catch up. So, the headline was, “Early mistakes doom Lady Apaches.” Because that’s what happened in that game. Too many early mistakes to catch up.
Then I got a phone call saying, “that writer” was too negative and “whoever wrote that story needs to be talked to.”
That person I was talking to must not have known who she was talking to. Normally I don’t blame anyone who does (read above when I said I don’t ever want to take myself too seriously), except I literally said “hello, this is José” during the phone call. In her defense, she asked for the editor, and I’m not quite sure how many people believe that the sports guy is also the editor.
And of course, this reached Facebook and as always when it comes to social media, faux outrage appears, people hop in with their own agendas such as calling the Inquirer fake news and the old “all they cover is Shiner sports anyway,” (another column for another day) and it was mayhem…for a weekend.
There are two things that bothered me. One was the insults. Not that there were insults to begin with, I mean after all, what’s that they say about sticks and stones? Heck, I’ve heard worse from my brothers. Mainly, I was bored with the unoriginality. If you’re going to call me or the newspaper a name, give me something original to laugh at. Don’t bore me. Is that too much to ask?
In actuality, what really bothered me was the inaction. You know that staff box I mentioned up top? If you don’t know, right at the bottom there’s an “Opinion Policy” with the line “Your opinion is very important to us at The Gonzales Inquirer.” If you read a bit more, it tells you how to contact us, whether it’s via phone call, email or written letter. So if there really is a problem, there are plenty of constructive ways to let us know that doesn’t involve Facebook.
Back to the phone call, the disgruntled “reader” (I put that in quotes because if the critic actually read the story, then they’d realize how silly their complaint was) claimed that more people were going to call. Except I got nothing. My voicemails were empty on the phone. My inbox had no letters to the editor. There were no comments left on our Facebook page or our website over the weekend.
So what’s the deal?
Well, people lose interest. If something doesn’t personally affect you, you tend to lose interest. It happens to me too. All the tragedies (the real ones) that have occurred in the past decade, or even past three years, I’ve stored in the back of my mind as a “hey, here’s a reminder that there are terrible human beings in the world,” but then, I move on to other things. I’m not afraid to admit that. It’s kind of how I function every day. It stops me from just breaking down in tears every day (again, another column for another day).
This “doomed” controversy will pass (well I’d argue it has already passed). But if there’s one thing you can take from this is this, I’m open to any and all opinions. My email is listed in just about everything I write. Under that “doom” headline, the byline was by José Torres, firstname.lastname@example.org. That’s me. Just like it’s me underneath that “Managing Editor” title.
Whether you believe I ultimately call the shots or not on editorial is one thing. But if you’d like to find out, contact us, we’ll be more than happy to explain how everything works at the Inquirer and why we do the things we do.