Outlet: El Paso Times
Journalist: Marty Schladen
Tags: investigative, public interest
One of the greatest challenges a newspaper can face is covering a story that involves the paper directly. Such has been the case for the El Paso Times since the city announced its intention to buy the newspaper’s building. The purchase is part of a broader controversial effort to demolish City Hall to clear the way for a Triple A baseball stadium.
As the City Council was preparing to finalize the purchase of the Times building for $14 million, El Paso Times journalists obtained the city’s appraisal of the building and discovered the appraised value was $3.7 million below the purchase price. In a stunning display of incompetence, city officials hadn’t really read the appraisal until Times reporter Marty Schladen started asking about it. Although the discovery risked costing the company several million dollars, the Times broke the story and has continued to follow the issue. Almost a month later, the fate of the sale is still uncertain.