Thursday, April 7, 2011

El Paso Times Doesn't Know?

So I have been posting about Ousia Davis and her column on my blog for the last couple months. Most of it was just based on her articles and hearsay. I decided step up my posts and find out some of the back story on Davis. So I called the El Paso Times asking them about Ousia Davis and her column. First of all I have to say that they hire just about anyone with a heartbeat as a receptionist. I asked to talk to somebody about a person who was employed at the Times and I was transferred to employment advertising. I'm not looking for employment! I'm looking to see if someone IS employed there! After being transferred a couple time I ended up at the Human Resources department. There I spoke with a gentleman who said he could not give me specific information about an employee but all he could tell me was that Davis was not an employee at the El Paso Times. He told me that she might be some sort of freelance writer and that she might get paid or  that she might not. I got a whole lot of maybes so I asked if he could transfer me to someone who might know more about Ouisa Davis.

I was then transferred to the news room where a female answered. I told her that I had a question about a specific columnist. She asked me who the columnist was so I said Ouisa Davis. The female UHed a couple times and then put me on hold. After about 30 seconds Charley Edgren, the editorial page editor at the El Paso Times, picked up the line. I started the whole line of questions again. This time I got a couple more answers, but not many.  I asked Edgren if Davis was employed by the Times. He said no. I asked if Davis was a staff writer/contributor or if her columns were just posted when ever she sent them in and if she was compensated for them. Edgren said Davis was "anchored on Fridays" but was not paid. So I decided to ask Edgeren how Davis landed the Friday column. How long had she been writing the column? Did she apply for it? If so how does one apply? Did she start off by writing letters to the editor and then did her letters land her the column on Fridays? You know, I just asked what people want to know. Edgeren went straight into I don't know mode. He said that he didn't know how Davis landed the Friday column or how long she had been writing it for. He said he didn't know if she started writing letters to the editor first but did say there was a difference between a letter to the editor and a column. He said a letter to the editor was 200 words or less and a column could be as long as they like. I asked him why was Davis, who was not a paid employee, allowed to write her opinion every Friday when the El Paso Times only allows the rest of El Paso to exercise their 1st Amendment right only once a month. By rule readers can only have their letters published once a month in the El Paso Times. People have defended Davis saying that the 1st Amendment gives her the right to write her column. Edgeren once again said he didn't know. After so many I don't know's I decided to ask Edgeren if he could transfer me to someone who did know.( I went from asking for someone who might know to asking for someone who did know) Edgren then said he didn't know, yet another I don't know, if there was anyone who did know. Then he said the only person who might know was the person who was there before him but that person was in Washington DC. Ok, so Edgeren has only been there for just a while then. So I did some research and asked around. The only way Edgeren could not know when Ouisa Davis started writing her leftist column was if Ouisa Davis had been writing her column about 15 years ago.

Edgeren is not a new kid on the block. Edgeren actually worked for the El Paso Herald Post for over 17 years before it printed its final edition in 1997. An article in the American Journalism Review that was written June 2001 states "El Paso's newsroom is full of people who once worked for the competing Herald-Post" . The article even has a quote by Edgeren. in it. 
"Times columnist Charles Edgren, who spent 17 years at the Herald-Post, is blunt. "In the drive to get stories, to be first with stories, to break them, I think having competition is essential. Consequently, I think some stories are either not reported, underplayed or not pursued at all now." "
So two things. This article places Edgren at the El Paso Times in 2001. That puts Edgren at the Times for at least 10 years but I have a feeling he went over to the Times a soon as the Herald Post shut down. I tried to ask the HR department but they wouldn't give me any information about Edgren's employment. In fact the male who answered the phone would not even give me his name because he said he did not want his name in any publication. After asking a few more questions the HR person hung up on me. I think its funny that a news publication who lives off of asking questions has a hard time answering them. So has Davis been writing her column for over ten years or did Edgren blatantly give me misleading information?  The second thing that you should get out of the quote is that Edgren is absolutely right. Ouisa Davis writing her very partisan column while being a county employee has not been reported, has been underplayed and has not been pursued at all by any media outlet. I think its time that the Times puts an end to Davis spreading her venom while she collects a salary paid for by taxpayer money.

1 comment:

  1. Sammy:
    They are wasting a lot of valuable editorial space on a writer that is very biased and opinionated. Her bias alienates any open minded individual.


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