Berens continued to clean his glasses, a hint of his nervousness with her.
“I opened this business six months ago by the skin of my teeth and whatever I could scrape together from relatives. It’s been tough because I’ve been publisher, editor, lead reporter, and advertising manager.”
He motioned to the back partition. “I sleep here, I eat here and I dream here. I dream of making the Chronicle a real force in this community.”
“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 at her.
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. “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.”
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