People don’t read bylines, they never have—unless, of course, the article is by an anonymous author in the President’s inner circle, in which case the byline becomes suddenly relevant (go figure). In general, people still blame news outlets for the crazy stuff the authors say.
“The New York Times says a military intervention won’t work;” “Wapo says socialism isn’t the problem!” “Reuters is repeating the government narrative;” “Bloomberg doesn’t understand the exchange controls!”
We get a lot of that too.
As Caracas Chronicles opened up to other voices (something Juan Nagel had the good sense of pushing forward), there’s been, at least, five different cohorts of writers, and the website has over 64 different bylines now: each a sentient human person with good, or her own, opinions. Opinions that go beyond Quico’s intellectual honesty—which many times has proven a magnet for problems—or Emiliana’s tenacity while hunting down baby-killing chavistas. And so it happens: some days we’re Caracas Breitbart, and others we’re CiudadCCS (a chavista pamphlet).
It’s hard to separate people from organizations, we get it, but we try to be fair and give space to different voices and points of view. We’re happy to have dissenting voices beating the living daylights out of each other on the site, and usually invite people across the board (not chavistas because, you know, we’re Caracas Breitbart) to comment, especially on thorny subjects. Some accept our invitation, some don’t, some get offended, some are grateful and excited, others won’t touch us with a ten foot pole, and, of course, there’s always the occasional cease and desist.
It’s been 16 years of ups and downs and comings and goings, and many changes, and even more down the road. Which makes sense, because, you know, Venezuela.
When things go well, it’s mostly thanks to our writers. When they go wrong, yep, blame it on us.
We were able to develop a structure that allows us to pay decent fees to our writers and staff (we think!), fueled by our Political Risk Report and our cherished voluntary subscribers who keep this engine running. It has been deeply gratifying, although not as much as finding so many different voices from so many places. Right now we have people writing from Caracas, Guarenas, Guatire, Puerto Ordaz, Mérida, Barquisimeto, Maracay, Maracaibo, San Cristóbal, Valencia, and we’re looking forward to find many others and turn this list into a 90’s cell phone company commercial. Plus, seeing our writers get their footing and polish their writing chops to a point where they can pursue journalism and careers as writers, and seeing them publish in international media, is an accomplishment that we celebrate (even when it means losing a regular contributor).
Of course, we don’t hold the “Caracas Chronicles says” against any of our readers. We just want to remind you that, when things go well, it’s mostly thanks to our writers. When they go wrong, yep, blame it on us.