“What about the other paper in town? It’s been here for almost 30 years. Isn’t that a force in this community?” Kathleen had a slight edge to her voice.
“Oh, it’s an OK paper, winning its share of awards. But it has very little of the kind of reporting that I want you to do,” he said pointedly, finally putting his glasses on. He looked directly
Kathleen felt a little unnerved by his directness. “What kind of reporting is that? I’m not into sensational journalism--you’ve obviously read my work or you wouldn’t have asked me here. If you think I would be willing to change my professional ethics, you’re dead...” Berens blushed a little. “Wait a minute, Kathleen, if I can call you that. I didn’t mean to offend you. It’s just that I’m looking for a different kind of coverage of this town. It’s not sensational stories that I’m after, but I am looking for stories that tell how it really is here, not just the glossy public relations crap that comes out of pretty picture magazines showing the police chief grinning with his cronies from the Kiwanis Club. I want the underlying story.”
Berens got up from his chair and began pacing back and forth like a caged animal.
“Besides the why of what goes on here, I want to show the diversity of this place. This is not a close-knit community, it’s only close for the insiders, those who own and control Sedona. In truth, it’s about as fractured as any community I’ve ever seen. It’s a city of refugees. You know it and I know it because we’re refugees here too, looking for our own slice of heaven.”
Kathleen interrupted his speech. “Do you think your readers want those kinds of stories?”
Berens was quick to answer. “I don’t give a goddamn what my readers want! It’s what I want. I want stories about those who come just for the spirituality of this place because of some hokey energy propaganda New Agers pass around. I want stories about the scam artists who make money off of those poor souls trying to find their spirituality. I want stories about the real estate agents intent on selling every goddamn piece of open land, God save their greedy souls, and I want stories about the U.S. Forest Service bureaucracy and the gung-ho environmentalists, particularly an old geezer by the name of John Perkins who is a real pain in everybody’s ass. You’ve got one hell of a community to write about Kathleen--each faction fighting for what they desire.”
He took a deep breathe and continued. “I want the good, the bad and the superb meaninglessness about this place that knocks over everyone with its red rock beauty. I want you to dig into it, smell it, taste it, go climb on Bell Rock and see for yourself if you can touch God.”
He stopped pacing, sat back down in his chair and smiled for the first time.
“I want to shake this place up, and I know you have the talent to help me do it. But I want to warn you, I can be a nasty son of a bitch when there are production problems.”
Click Follow to receive emails when this author adds content on Bublish