A great pleasure of travel is the Great American Local Newspaper, where it still exists. In and around San Luis Obispo, in the central coast area of California, that would be the Tribune, which isn’t cheap, as newsprint goes. On Tuesday morning, the newsstand price was $1 for all of fourteen pages, some of which went to Dear Abby, horoscopes and a crossword puzzle. But the front page ran hot, with a full-color photo of two members of the Sierra Club’s Santa Lucia chapter dressed as giant sea otters. They were protesting a plan by Phillips 66 to haul crude oil from its Nipomo Mesa refinery on a new rail spur. Critics call the tankers “bomb trains.”
Even better than local papers are local film festivals, and Tuesday’s Tribune reported what promises to be a good one—the latest iteration of the San Luis Obispo International Film Festival, focused this year on food, wine and beer. “Movies are fantastic on their own, but the festival is also about coming together accented by those things and a party feeling,” Wendy Eidson, the festival’s director, told a Tribune correspondent.
Apparently, “party feeling” is a big part of the mix. On Thursday, a screening of “Craft: A California Beer Documentary,” follows what seems to be the main event—beer sampling at something called the Central Coast Brew-Ha-Ha. On Friday, a screening of “The Wine Life,” about winemaking in Australia, is preceded by the Zinposium, which reviews local Zinfandels, and is followed by the Z After Party, with tastings from 20 wineries.
It will be hard not to love those movies.
In the world of Big City journalism, meanwhile, union members at the New York Times are using the paper’s “truth is hard” campaign to score points in their own campaign against possible staff cuts at the paper. On Friday, the Newsguild of New York began circulating a petition to Times management, asking for a larger role in deciding how newsroom resources will be redeployed in the shift toward digital delivery. “We have deep and long experience in the complex tasks of producing the world’s most authoritative news report,” reminded the petition, while citing a “truth” theme that has been central to the papers recent promotions.
Truth is indeed hard. But sometimes, as when those big, furry sea otters showed up at the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors meeting on Monday, it’s still kind of fun.