I was excited to pick up your paper (March 12) with the cover title “No More Secrets.” I thought, “Well, golly, they’ve finally stepped out and gotten some journalistic integrity!” Sadly, this was not the case.
The article publishes government papers that have been released to the public that might generate some interest from local readers. The secrets I’m interested in, however, are your own, Mountain Xpress.
You purport that you are some sort of indie paper—somehow different, honest or even hip. The truth is, you are just like our local Gannett affiliate. Money is the game, just the same as the [Asheville] Citizen-Times.
Your food reviewer Hanna Rachel Raskin knows that. She bowed to the pressure of your advertisers, to the hoodlums at the AIR [Asheville Independent Restaurant Association]. I haven’t seen a bad review in months, and we all know there is plenty of bad food in this town. …
Some indie paper. Sell-outs.
— Halley Thompson
Managing editor Jon Elliston responds: For the record, Xpress is “somehow different”—we put a premium on honesty, and sometimes we are “even hip.” And while we are an independent business that needs to pay its employees, money is not our only, or even our predominant, game. The paper’s core mission has always been to help cultivate an informed, open dialogue about local matters of every stripe, including our area’s vibrant food scene.
Furthermore, neither Raskin nor any of our other food writers has bowed to pressure from advertisers or the Asheville Independent Restaurant Association. Life is full of pressures, including your letter. Of course our newspaper’s management listens to advertisers, among all the voices of the community we serve—but our editorial decision-making process remains independent-minded, and aims to serve and respect our readers first and foremost.