Commentary

Flipping The News Script In 2017

by STAFF December 29, 2017

U.S. Bureau of Land Management

Our final list—we promise!—for 2017 comprises a collection of stories that either landed just outside our top social media hits or were left on the cutting room floor for our editors’ picks. Their significance still shines in different way—these stories “flipped the script” on conventional thinking or challenged a dominant news media narrative found elsewhere. As was typical of Western Wire’s diverse coverage in 2017, they reflect a broad interest in going beyond headlines for what Paul Harvey famously called, “the rest of the story.”

Welcome to Western Wire’s year-end newsletter review of 2017’s top stories as chosen by our readers and our editors.

Flickr / Earthworks

It’s not often that elected officials come forward and publicly and admit when they are wrong, so give La Plata County Commissioner Gwen Lachelt kudos for acknowledging in a Durango Herald op-ed that she should be more transparent in her dual role as both a county commissioner and the head of an environmental activist group. Lachelt grudgingly credited Western Wire reporting – albeit two months after questions were asked – for her promise to be more transparent. In reality, however, Lachelt’s op-ed raises significant questions that could have major implications on lobbying and disclosure rules moving forward.

The timing was rather ironic. And perhaps another example of why Western Wire is so needed in this current media landscape. On Monday morning, anti-fracking activists associated with national environmental groups took the opportunity to score headlines by disrupting a Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission meeting. Outlets from CBS …

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When we launched Western Wire earlier this year, our goal was to write stories and cover issues that traditional media was slow to report on. We had a hunch that the dwindling number of reporters meant there were important stories that weren’t getting the time and attention they deserve. A perfect example is Western Wire’s coverage of the cozy ties between elected officials and a controversial anti-fracking activist from Boulder County in Colorado.

The Inconvenient Truth About Why the Energy Office Died

by Colo. State Senator Ray Scott June 2, 2017

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Democrats and environmentalists are fond of talking about “inconvenient truths,” so here’s one they might chew on during this pause in the 71st General Assembly. Colorado’s Energy Office met its demise in the waning hours of the just-closed legislative session not because of Republicans, who made a good-faith effort to reauthorize and re-energize what had become a listless and ineffectual bureaucratic backwater.

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Governor Hickenlooper would be wise to challenge the Colorado Court of Appeals decision forcing the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) to reinterpret its mission. State lawmakers have charged the COGCC with fostering “responsible, balanced” development, production and use of oil and gas “in a manner consistent with protection of public health, safety, and welfare, including protection of the environment and wildlife resources.”