For the past 11 years we've done the Local Heroes during the holiday season and it's always been one of my favorite issues. We've joked that it was a way to redeem ourselves and the perception that journalism is all about the negative. Well, we do follow the drama, no doubt, and we receive our share of criticism for a range of issues.
This year, I guess I don't look at it as a way to prove we're nice. Hell, we wouldn't want some folks out there thinking we're retreating to a bowl of journalism bon-bons. No.
What we say in the introduction on page 11, is that we hope what you have before you is really a map. I've always prided myself in being well-traveled and a good map reader. I like getting lost, too, but mostly, I like that handy map in my pocket to take me where I want to go in the end. Local Heroes is that map, or maybe the start of one. We can dream, right?
Newspapers aren't the only sources of information around us about what's wrong—some will say, rightfully so, that we need to know more of that information. Sometimes, it's good to know when something is right, and I think, most of us know there are incredible people in Tucson doing good work. It's part of what makes us feel good about living in Tucson. Living in our community are people who see problems and try to fix them. Or people who dedicate their lives to making us feel more at home or entertained in a Sonoran love kind of way (yes, Kidd Squidd fits that for me).
In the shadow of the Senate Intelligence Committee's torture report, we need to be reminded that the map to goodness is in our backyard and we need to see reflections of ourselves to know we are better than this. In this day and age, surely our American society is more than the sum of the underbelly of this report and the torture details.
I love Tucson. My heart hurts sometimes. And there days I just need a map—a friend, a hike, a cup of coffee, a hand ... and local heroes, just what the heart ordered.