When The Denver Post posted a job listing for the nation’s first “marijuana editor,” many journalists scoffed. Could this be real? Better yet – what are they smoking? Certainly this was a joke.
It wasn’t. Recognizing that marijuana legalization — starting with the allowance of medical marijuana use in 2000 and leading to dispensaries for that use and, now, legalized recreational use and sales — is very much a reality for its audience, The Denver Post has shuffled how it covers the drug’s effects on culture, news, business and communities. Why? Regardless of whether its readers believe the drug should be legal, they are talking about it. And our job as journalists is not to decide what is right or wrong but to cover our communities and what they are talking about.
It turns out that I know the new marijuana editor for The Denver Post. Ric Baca was a music critic for the Corpus Christi Caller-Times, where I worked. He’s a great guy … and a solid journalist. Many interviews he’s done as the first “pot editor” have been in jest, but it’s a serious gig. Take three minutes to learn about his job and why he thinks it’s important. My favorite quote: “We’re just writing about the reality.”