A message from KUVO, Rocky Mountain PBS, and I-News CEO Doug Price
Yesterday, 12 people in Paris lost their lives not for what they did, but for what they said. The murdered journalists and their bodyguards worked for the French satirical magazine called Charlie Hebdo. The gunmen are thought to be radical Islamic terrorists who attacked during the magazine’s daily editorial meeting.
After deliberation, our team at the Rocky Mountain PBS family – which includes KUVO and I-News – felt a responsibility to speak to you about this loss of life and the context it holds for us.
I grew up in France, the son of an American serviceman. My connection to France has continued, and I am the only board member of the French-American Foundation in New York who is responsible for a journalism organization.
As I awoke to the NPR newsfeed on KUVO at 6 a.m. Wednesday, I had two very mixed emotions. The first was sadness at the tragic loss of life that reporting now tells us was terrorism targeted at journalists. The second was great pride. When Rocky Mountain PBS merged with KUVO and I-News, the Rocky Mountain PBS family made an explicit decision to serve our audience by providing journalism – and most particularly investigative journalism – that many commercial newsrooms struggle to offer in this changing media landscape.
It took me somewhat by surprise that reporting takes as much courage as it does. Speaking truth to power is not a simple task, and candidly, as the CEO of this enterprise, I have felt occasional anxiety as we published stories I knew would be controversial, and ruffle the feathers of people I considered to be friends or antagonize those I knew could be strident foes.
Rocky Mountain Public Broadcasting Network now employs more than a dozen journalists and has a similar number using our newsroom as their base of operations. Now I recognize their courage in a way I had not understood before. There are real consequences when it comes to reporting and not all of them revolve around the positive impact a great story can generate.
I’d like to take this opportunity to salute the journalists here and elsewhere. Through serious reporting or, as is the case with Charlie Hebdo, very funny satire, they defend democracy and lift the culture.
I’d also like to express my pride in you, our members. Just a few weeks ago, Rocky Mountain PBS and KUVO quietly surpassed the milestone of having 70,000 combined members. The key question you should ask yourself as a donor is ‘does my contribution matter?’ Each donation buys an insurance policy that we will be able to produce and deliver trusted news and programming.
No one should lose a life over the words they write, yet, in today’s world, it happens. The image below was tweeted by our most prolific journalist, KUVO’s Steve Chavis, moments after he heard of the tragedy. Its depiction of a pencil defending against a gun says it all. I-News contributing journalist Mary MacCarthy, who was an anchor in Paris for several years, tells me that almost all the journalists she knows have changed their social media profile pictures to this photo to honor those who lost their lives in defense of freedom of speech this morning. In honor of them and in honor of you, who make our speech possible, I will do the same. Je suis Charlie.
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Douglas M. Price
CEO of Rocky Mountain PBS, KUVO & I-News
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