Praises and threats

E very year again, making The Huaraz Telegraph is a massive job. Not in the last place because useless local publications appear every beginning of the high season and these are aiming at our same target audience. We are basically fishing in the same pool and are visiting the same small group of businesses that are (partially) focused on tourism. Making our paper starts with selling the ads, which is only part one. Thanks to local businesses that buy an advertisement in our paper, we are able to offer it for free in over 40 hostels and hotels, restaurants, the better cafés, i-Perú, language centres and the office of the National Park Huascaran for example.

Someone reading this might wonder why I used the word ¨useless¨ in the previous paragraph. I would like to use this word because after having analysed some of these productions, as a whole I think they´re a waste of paper and ink. Sadly, most of these items contain wrong information, which might mislead its reader and could possibly send tourists into the wrong direction. I am wondering how much time these directores spend on making it, or whether it´s just a case of copy and paste. Another thing that stands out is the huge number of spelling and grammar mistakes. Certainly, everyone makes mistakes, so do we. I am not saying that mistakes can´t be made; however, thinking of your target audience, it might be a bad idea to only use Google Translate but this is just a suggestion.

Competition is certainly not a bad thing; it keeps us sharp and helps us indirectly of creating a higher standard every year. Fortunately, most businesses that have backed us during the past five years, will continue to do so. This shows not only that we´re offering a great product; it also shows that for the advertisers there appears to be a return on investment (ROI). The ROI is important for most businesses, although some of our advertisers have explained that they back our paper because they believe Huaraz needs it. These businesses believe in the purpose and ideals of The Huaraz Telegraph and praise us. A nicer compliment we could not have asked for.

Generally speaking and I have mentioned this before, the main job of our paper is to inform and entertain and by no means are we willing to make something better than it is. When a tourist has his or her camera stolen (something which can happen everywhere in the world), some people criticise us for making this public because they believe it harms the reputation of Huaraz. When we recommend tourists not to hike from the ruins of Willcahuaín to the hot springs in Monterrey because of recent robberies, we are not trying to scare them away. We are saying this because sadly, some hostels and agencies in the centre avoid or lack to inform their clients the way they should do.

Returning on the topic of the printed publications that are released yearly, sadly these not prove to be such a great source of information as their info isn’t up to date, so also concluded former American publisher James McCallum in 2016. Last year we thought to do these publishers a favour by pointing out a couple of things and giving them some feedback. It seems they couldn’t care less as little to no changes were observed in this year´s publications. Nonetheless, I would like to pick out two observations. In the first place, I can´t understand that someone recommends rafting in the Rio Santa, a river that receives sewer and who knows what else. The Rio Santa is heavily polluted and rafting and kayaking is absolutely not recommended, unless you want to get sick. Rafting was a lot more popular in the 80s in Huaraz and now you know why.

Secondly, I am sure that many guides, Casa de Guías and even the directors of the Parque Nacional Huascarán have raised their eyebrows when reading that in 2017 a recent local publication is promoting skiing on the Pastoruri Glacier. For those who didn’t know, ascending the glacier is strictly forbidden due to the many gaps and cracks in the ice and therefore it´s terribly dangerous to do so.  Additionally, so show recent investigations, Pastoruri show accelerated glacier retreat. Last year, American paleoclimatologist and distinguished university professor at the School of Earth Sciences, Ohio State University, Lonnie G. Thompson informed our newspaper that he thought that it´s likely that the Pastoruri Glacier will disappear within ten years. Anyway, it seems that most advertisers don’t analyse the content at all but I might be mistaken.

The Huaraz Telegraph is unique and through the years we have established a decent reputation among most readers, followers and critics, I believe. This doesn’t mean however that we are ´liked´ by everyone as a couple of years ago; we received anonymous phone calls and once found the paper ripped to pieces at our doorstep. Fans I guess. Sometimes our publications are somewhat provocative, I agree, but I can assure you that there is always an idea behind it, and, not necessarily everyone has to agree with our point of view on tourism or other topics.

Speaking of which, I found out just recently that I was declared persona non grata for publishing on the appearance of controversial flyers promoting activities at Hatun Machay. Apparently, the new concessionaire declared five people, including three foreigners who live in Huaraz persona non grata. Oh and yes, we have also received written threats by this person in question. We cannot react to these comments unfortunately, because this Facebook user has childishly blocked us so that´s why I wanted to dedicate a small paragraph to this topic. Nonetheless, our lawyer is looking into the threats as we speak. Our roll in this conflict is very simple; we only want to inform tourists that Hatun Machay is a safe place. Unfortunately, at the moment we cannot recommend climbers or boulder fanatics going here because the site is not safe, so show recent images. This is ostensibly enough to declare your editor persona non grata. Well, so be it.

As I made clear earlier in the foreword of the July edition of 2016, we always worry about our readers. Most of our readers are tourists, apart from some English students who use our newspaper as didactic material, and it is our belief that we should not make things out to be better than they actually are. We prefer to speak out. Why do we do this? Are we discrediting the area? No we are not. What we are trying to do is avoid people getting robbed or worse, which would generate more negative publicity for Huaraz and the surrounding area. Our job, apart from offering you an interesting read, is to make tourism sustainable, and this can only be done by writing the truth and by creating awareness. What is needed, however, and this is also the job of the hostel or hotel, restaurant waitress, local climbing guide or even taxi driver, is a maximum effort to make tourists’ stays the best they´ve had in Peru. The more people that leave Huaraz with a happy feeling, the more chance they will come back one day, or that they will recommend our city. Luckily, most businesses backing our paper understand this very well.

Well, that´s almost it for now. Just a small reminder and in case you have missed our request earlier this week, we are looking for writers! Do you think you fit the profile? Contact us today.

Saludos,

Rex Broekman

(Founder and editor in chief of The Huaraz Telegraph)

 

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