When my family moved to the Santa Clarita Valley in the early 1970s this place was mostly just wide open undeveloped space. I remember a time when I probably would have laughed till my sides hurt if you told me that we would eventually have our own mall. Some of my fondest memories are how this community has come together to help each other, like when our valley got cut off by the damage caused by the Northridge earthquake or the many neighbors over the years whose homes that have been lost or threatened by fierce wildfire! The generosity that this valley displays every time our community faces adversity is one of the reasons I love Santa Clarita.
Through all these years and all the transformations, the valley has gone through, there had always been one thing that was constant and that was a small local media fairly documenting our history. It is sad to think that those days may be gone as we have recently witnessed two formerly trusted media outlets turning away from their journalistic duty to our community, choosing rather to lower themselves to the level of petty bloggers with grudges and personal agendas.
In all the years of living in Santa Clarita I don’t think I have ever seen a character quite like this Chuck Champion guy, who is one of the new, out-of-town owners of the once mighty Signal, who boisterously claimed not to have a personal vendetta against anyone at a city council meeting this summer. There is only one big problem with this claim and that is Mr. Champion doesn’t even seem to be attempting to hide his personal vendettas. One clear example is forcing his professional journalists, who should know better, into breaking one of the most elementary and fundamental staples of journalism: which is employing The Five W’s for every story. If you are unfamiliar with The Five W’s I am referring to the who? what? when? where? and why? of a story. The Society of Professional Journalists states “Ethical journalism should be accurate and fair. Journalists should be honest and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting information.” Which means it is highly unethical for a journalist to exclude important facts (like the principal author of a Senate bill) just because their new bosses have a scheme to grab some “undue political influence.”
Santa Clarita did not ask for Chuck Champion to come here, he wasn’t elected by our citizens and It is becoming painfully obvious that Mr. Champion is just attempting to build his own political dynasty, by attacking and damaging local officials who see him for who he is and replace them with hand-picked candidates who will be loyal to Champion’s agenda and his business interests. It is sad that the once mighty Signal, who has been documenting life in Santa Clarita for almost 100 years, has gone out of its way to slap the faces of the 971,000 residents of California’s 21st Senate district who elected Senator Scott Wilk by unethically excluding the work done in Sacramento on their behalf by the representative that they elected. With shameful stunts like this is it any wonder, people’s trust in the media is in free fall.
Now, I know what you might be thinking, perhaps that is just how they write their stories? I appreciate your glass-half-full-optimism, but we only need to look at an article Jim Holt wrote on June 2nd all about how Senator Henry Stern abstaining from voting on Wilk’s SB 634, a bill that would consolidate all Santa Clarita water agencies into one modern water agency. Jim Holt wrote Stern’s name 19 times without one mention of the bill’s principal author Senator Wilk! Now more recently after the governor signed Senator Wilk’s bill into law, Mr. Holt wrote 5 separate articles about SB 634, and never once mentioning the bill’s author.
So it seems classic cars are not the only thing that turns up missing when Mr. Champion is around, The keys W, I, L, and K on the Signal’s keyboards also seem to have disappeared along with the 1965 Mustang.