Opinion: Caring about the news matters


By Joann Eisenbrandt

“Why should people who live in South Lake Tahoe care about this?” 

I have written articles for Lake Tahoe News for many years. Every article had to first pass this relevancy test. Granted, Kae Reed and I have had our disagreements about what was relevant and what wasn’t. We burned up quite a few cell phone towers in the process. However, we have never disagreed about our role as journalists.

Kae viewed Lake Tahoe News as the gatekeeper for the information highway between Lake Tahoe residents and those making the decisions that would impact their lives. She took this role very seriously. It often involved asking the hard questions, not taking things at face value and being willing to dig beneath the surface to find the truth.

Telling that truth sometimes led to acrimonious backlash. Truth and transparency have been in short supply on the lake’s South Shore a very long time. The same small, inbred circle of corporate and governmental power brokers or their hand-picked successors has had control there for decades. This has led to a sense of entitlement and a lack of any real accountability. 

It has also led to the failure to effectively solve the core problems that lie buried to this day beneath the lake’s mysterious blue waters. Kae did as much as any single doggedly determined truth seeker could do to bring them up into the light. She told me many times how vital it was that those who lived at the lake had meaningful input into local officials’ decisions. Lapses in protocol and secret back door deals violated her sense of what good government should be. Regurgitating glossy press releases and filling her stories with self-serving quotes was not her style.

On July 31, Lake Tahoe News will cease publication. Kae was a stern editor and taskmaster, but that was a good thing. I am sad my time writing for her will be over. Still, I am even sadder about the gaping vacuum the publication’s departure will leave behind.

 “Why should people who live in South Lake Tahoe care about this?”

For the majority of residents, living at the lake can be a day-to-day struggle. Low wages and the lack of affordable housing mean they often must sacrifice what is less important just to hang on. Lake Tahoe News made sure they did not sacrifice their right to be informed about what was really taking place in the city where they lived. I fear the much-needed unvarnished truth that Kae told will be much harder to come by in the future.


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Comments (8)
  1. Irish Wahini says - Posted: July 26, 2018

    Amen Joanne! Thank you all for dedicated journalism, uncovering hidden agendas and seeking answers to so many problems here in South Lake Tahoe. Also, for informing us of the good news, as well as the bad & ugly. We will miss you. Can you hang around and run for office?

  2. Ellie Waller says - Posted: July 26, 2018

    I want to echo Joann’s comments and state not only South Lake Tahoe will miss the feed but so will the North Shore. Kae covered as much as humanly possible for the entire lake and surrounding communities. The depth and breadth of her coverage is unfounded.

    “Still, I am even sadder about the gaping vacuum the publication’s departure will leave behind.” I agree whole-heartedly that the general population, tourists and all others that peruse this wealth of information site will not have a news source that authenticates, researches and provides well-rounded and truthful information.

    Kae Reed you will be missed by many and for those that never have heard of LakeTahoeNewsNet or you read the blog are missing out on the genuineness and fortitude it takes in reporting the “real” news.

  3. No More Rose Colored Glasses says - Posted: July 26, 2018

    Truth, no greater goal. LTN has been known as the only go-to source for local truth since its inception. Nice article describing LTN’s legacy. While some people, perhaps most, would prefer the truth not be told, LTN always verified with multiple sources. Why did so many people talk to Kae, give her information, tips on real facts and not the others? Because we know she and those who write for her will get to the bottom of it while the others won’t. That simple. Tahoe has been better for LTN and Kae’s due diligence. It does matter.
    More than a billion taxpayer dollars have been invested in the lake’s clarity. Many millions of our, yeah folks that’s our tax dollars, are invested each year by councilmembers, county supes, STPUD board, school board members. The decisions they make decide where we go from here. So how they make their decisions matter. If they are doing it behind closed doors, or inappropriately, if they don’t follow the law, how they conduct themselves in these decisions, it all matters. Thanks Kae and Joanne and Sue and all the others.

  4. Tom & Cheryl Millham says - Posted: July 26, 2018

    Very nice article and compliment for Kae. Cheryl and I have known Kae for a very long time, ever since she started with the Tribune, many, many moons ago. We have appreciated her ‘News-Nose’ to keep the community up to speed, plus her support of our now 40-year old organization, Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care. Kathryn – – – – we will miss the morning doses of ‘What’s Happening in Tahoe’ that we have come to read and love, no matter where in the world we have been. God Bless you in whatever your future holds. You and the Lake Tahoe News will be dearly missed in this community.

  5. Lisa says - Posted: July 26, 2018

    Tom and Cheryl say it perfectly. It will be a huge loss to the community and our family personally.

  6. Scott Ramirez says - Posted: July 26, 2018

    Well said! Our town and community can only really get timely news from Facebook, Twitter and our two local online news providers, Lake Tahoe News and South Tahoe Now (unless I missed another one). The Tahoe Daily Tribune only now publishes once a week and are usually two weeks behind on being current or even relevant. With the exit of Lake Tahoe News it leaves South Tahoe Now as the only real remaining actively managed source of news.

    I am sad to see Lake Tahoe News go offline and will miss their reporting. No one ever agrees with another all the time but Kae has always had the truth of an issue in the heart of her reporting. South Tahoe Now will now be the lone reporting source for our town and I wish Paula and her sources well in that endeavor. Paula has also been one to keep the true story in the heart of her reporting and South Tahoe Now will become that much more critical to being a source of news. I will miss having the two sources to contrast and validate my news.

  7. TBS says - Posted: July 26, 2018

    I agree with everyone but Scott because of his praise of South Tahoe Now. That’s just a rag, a warehouse for press releases. The fact that Paula was willing to take money from Barton and other unknown businesses to try to buy LTN earlier this year (read the July Mt. News article) shows she has no ethics. She was ready to be bought and controlled. Her news cannot be trusted; she is not a journalist. The fact that she is on multiple boards in town shows her bias.

    The state of news in our town is truly sad. This time next week we will have a weekly, a monthly and press release distributor.

    Thank you Kae for your work. Your career has been impressive. You showed us what real news. I hope someone fills your shoes soon.

  8. Carla Ennis says - Posted: July 27, 2018

    I am truly sorry to see you go Kae. I always felt I knew what was going on n town because of this website. It is a concern that officials and others who want to operate under the radar screen will have a much easier time of it
    starting in August. You’ve done a wonderful job; we appreciate it and will miss you greatly.

    Happy Trails!