Local newspapers and journalists serve their communities. We still have both a daily and a weekly newspaper in Las Cruces. Our papers serve a wide geographic area, and the key word is serve. Why am I writing about this? To tell two stories about the story telling organizations. Dedication starts at the top. We are fortunate that the Sun News and the Bulletin each does the service of keeping their readers engaged by telling stories about our community.
I was in San Diego for the AIAA SPACE 2013 conference. There were three giant conferences going on within the area. I don’t like big conferences. I don’t think many people like big conferences. They are held in big cities so people can go also go shopping and play golf, etc. Our conference center is small and intimate. People who come to conferences in Las Cruces stay at the conference and that’s the good news.
On my walk over to the Convention Center, I got a call from Richard Coltharp, the publisher of the Las Cruces Bulletin. We have been working on the International Symposium for Personal and Commercial Spaceflight (ISPCS) – a conference. He called, just to make sure we had a clear understanding on one of the aspects of the coverage for ISPCS. How else can I explain that type of dedication? It is in service to the news of our community he took the extra step and made a phone call.
We give the papers a lot of news worthy events to cover. We are lifelong learners in southern New Mexico and support conferences like Dominici and the ISPCS Community Partnership Luncheon. NMSU grows our community and enables a robust journalism department and also the arts community, which now includes a growing film industry. After a long day, and hours of networking, Lou Diamond Phillips was finally able to thank Sun News publisher Frank Leto in person for their support of the White Sands Film Festival. We rely on the leadership of these papers for ongoing coverage of our community events. We just never hear about how they do it, now you know.
News and research are an essential part of the fabric of our country. Good research helps news organizations provide better information so we can make informed decisions. The people who cover the news would probably like to cover TWEF rather than the debt-ceiling. We have the Wounded Warrior golf tournament because we have veterans with serious injuries who need our help. Individual citizens and businesses will come to their aid, and play some golf, and all of us will learn a little more about the cost of war. Our community can absorb multiple events, multiple causes. News staff live here, they are known to us. Their photographers will be out on the golf course, or at the games, to get the story in their words and images to us.
Last week, Virgin Galactic conducted a second successful powered test flight at Mojave Air and Space Port. They also had a job fair, conducted online as well as in person at Mojave. I got a few emails about this job fair, asking me why they were hiring people out in California. The news of these events is important, and putting them in context of southern New Mexico is also necessary.
Virgin Galactic will be a tenant at the spaceport. Virgin Galactic’s air and spacecraft WhiteKnightTwo and SpaceShipTwo respectively, are manufactured in California by the SpaceShip Company. The headquarters for Virgin Galactic will be at Spaceport America. Its sort of like Southwest Airlines, they are tenants at the El Paso International Airport. Their Boeing 737’s are manufactured in Seattle. The headquarters of Boeing is in Chicago. Virgin Galactic will eventually move the air and spacecraft to Spaceport America. Once they are here, our community will be called on to work not only with the visitors to the spaceport, but also on the operations and maintenance of the flight vehicles.
That will be a news worthy day when those vehicles start flying out of our spaceport. By then, our reporters will have had years of reporting on the commercial space transportation industry. They have experience now, more so than any other journalists, about what the spaceport has been through to get to the first flights. Opportunities emerging from this industry can be anticipated by our community and our research universities. Our local journalists have been reporting on the story, so keep on reading.