We already had a King of Re-Bar, and now we have an Aluminium Tsar. It’s great to see the Instituto Prensa y Sociedad’s Joseph Poliszuk really digging into the affairs of Roberto Wellisch, the Argentinian-Venezuelan Guayana entrepreneur who has quietly, over many years, colonized CVG’s aluminium operations. It’s the kind of careful, evidence-based journalistic investigation Venezuela is badly in need of, and Mr. Poliszuk, la patria te lo reconocerá.
So that’s the hat tip. Now to the jalón de oreja. These IPYS write ups are dry, dry, dry, dry, dry. And, the reality is, that badly limits their impact.
People need images, telling details, markers that hook into the imagination and make a story memorable. You don’t need to know all the ins-and-outs of the Derwick over-billing scandal to remember that these guys went and bought Aristotle Onassis’s old flat in Manhattan with friggin’ gold-plated bathroom fixtures. You don’t need to understand the ins and outs of Roberto Rincón’s Ovarb shenanigans to remember that his 21 year old kid, Ricky, wrapped a blue Ferrari F430 around a pine tree in the Houston ‘burbs back in 2011.
In the trade, it’s called “color.” And it may seem trivial, but it really isn’t. Color is the difference between a story people talk about around the water cooler and one that’s just added to the unending pile of scandals of the last 15 years. Color is what gives stories like this their vigencia social.
IPYS’s pieces are refreshingly research based. But they’re almost utterly color-blind. Which probably explains why when I posted on what ought to be a major story about Glencore 2 days ago, the post sank out of sight with a grand total of 8 comments and 9 retweets.
I want to know what car Roberto Wellisch’s kids drive. I want to know what who goes to his parties, and what booze he serves them. I want to know what the guy is like. I want the facts, yes, but I want more than the facts. I want the story. Ni es lo mismo ni es igual…