Every so often, the Tucson Weekly is accused of being unsupportive—of downtown, of Tucson as a whole, of business, of the arts community, of the dining scene, of (insert whatever here)—after we publish a not-so-positive review or story.
It happened a few of weeks ago when Jacqueline Kuder had some serious problems with the service at a downtown restaurant. It happened a few months ago when Sherilyn Forrester was thoroughly unimpressed with a local theater production. It's happened dozens of other times over the 8 1/2 years I've been sitting in the editor's chair, and I am sure it's happened hundreds of other times over the 27-plus years this fine publication has been hitting the streets of Tucson.
These accusations, while understandable—people don't like being criticized, after all—are misguided. In fact, they're backward: As part of a community, it's a newspaper's job to point out a city's faults—even if some people don't like the criticism. If all we did was offer positive coverage, that would be terrible—because not everything in Tucson is perfect, or even acceptable.
If we don't recognize our community's faults, how can Tucson ever improve? That's why we do stories like this week's cover feature—it's important to show people that almost a quarter of all city residents are living at the poverty level. That's why we do honest restaurant reviews. That's why we hold our local theater to a high standard. And so on.
This is not to say that we're always right; we make mistakes, and sometimes amazing restaurants have (two) bad days, and sometimes fantastic theater productions have off nights. But far more often than not, our reviews and stories paint a fairly accurate picture—even if that picture isn't so pretty.
It's called tough love, folks. That's our job, and we're happy to do it—even if some readers aren't always happy that we're doing it.