Foreword editor THT June edition 2016

O n page two of every printed edition of The Huaraz Telegraph, editor Rex Broekman shares his thoughts with the readers. The editorial of the June edition of 2016 is about an interesting experience while making the previous mentioned edition.

The clash of interest when publishing The Huaraz Telegraph

First of all, thanks for reading us! Maybe you picked up this paper while you are in Huaraz for your holidays, or just trying to climb a couple of mountains or do some trekking. Maybe you were surprised and at the same time wondering why Huaraz has an English newspaper in the first place. Well, let me tell you that The Huaraz Telegraph was launched in April 2012 and that we have already published 20 editions, which cost us a lot of energy and money. In our opinion, tourists are generally treated badly in our city. Although services have improved over the years, there is still a lot that has to be done to make Huaraz an interesting year-round destination. The reason we only publish in the months of June until September is because those are the months that according to most guidebooks Huaraz is worth visiting. Between October and March it rains a lot here, but that doesn´t mean tourists can´t do trekking, mountain biking or bouldering, does it? Anyway, as we are a free newspaper, which you can also find online by the way, we depend strongly on the ads we sell. Not selling ads means no newspaper, it´s that simple.

Although Huaraz is suffering from an economic crisis, the publishing business in Huaraz appears to be booming. Every year since our launch, new magazines, booklets, local guides and newspapers appear and disappear. Although most magazines are in Spanish, some also offer bilingual articles, which may possibly attract a much wider audience. The point is that we and all these so-called magazines (which mostly publish only advertisements and articles that come straight from the Internet), are fishing in the same small pool. We are all trying to sell ads to the same businesses in the same city and by doing so it´s important to highlight to these businesses that The Huaraz Telegraph strives to publish different stories and articles in each edition, as opposed to many publications in circulation that publish the same information over and over again, which, apparently, there is a market for, and seemingly the publishers don’t care as long as they can make a living of it.

Like I mentioned before, making The Huaraz Telegraph is no easy task and although I wouldn’t consider myself as antisocial, I am sure that the reason I have limited friends has something to do with publishing the paper. Understand this, if we would say that NGO ´x´ is the best in the world, restaurant ´y´ has the best dishes and service and agency ´z´ the best prices and equipment for treks, those three tourism-based businesses would almost certainly buy an ad in our paper. The reality is, however, that in journalism sometimes our interests clash. What happens if what we printed was not the truth? What if we knew that a certain NGO here is making thousands of dollars on the back of their fundraisers, or that the leadership spends more time abroad then in Peru while the ´poor little children´ are still wearing threadbare clothing or are starving to death, not to mention the fact that these children should be in school. What if we knew that a certain restaurant offers overpriced dishes, or underpays or does not pay their staff? What if we knew that a certain agency works with inexperienced and under-qualified guides that have been accused of the most horrible things; ´facts´ that were never denounced by the victims. Or what about the owner of a local supermarket that went to Cable Andino to ask my boss to sack me because we wrote about a backpack that got stolen INSIDE his supermarket, a fact for which he didn’t want to take responsibility, but instead tried to take revenge on me personally. This is the type of people we´re dealing with sometimes. Do you get the point? Maybe this is the best example of a clash of interest: Imagine that a certain bus company is sponsoring us and that same bus company suffers an accident because their bus driver was drunk and 39 foreign and national tourists get killed (luckily this hasn’t happened and let´s hope it won´t). Should we publish this horrifying news? I believe we should, better said we will publish. The consequences will probably be that the company in question refuses to pay us for the ad they had in the first place and even will ask us to remove it, whereas the more human and logical option would be an apology to the families of those involved. This is one of the difficulties we are trying to tackle in every edition we make.

Anyway, despite the difficulties we face every season we hope you enjoy reading our paper. Our job is to give you an entertaining read while you are enjoying the views and your coffee or beer in Huaraz.

Would you like to join our team or fancy sharing your story, or maybe you would like to help us expanding, there are many opportunities available. Please feel free to contact us for more information. Taking all the above into account, please do me a huge favour and visit the businesses that have put their trust in our hands by buying an ad. Try to read our newspaper at those places so the owner will know that their purchase is having an effect. My gratitude will be immense.

Be in touch,

Rex Broekman (founder and editor in chief)

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