In an example of how citizen journalism is taking over the delivery of news, Miguel Juárez last night broke the story about artist Margarita Cabrera filing notice with the city notifying it that she is looking for restitution from the city for the destruction of her artwork; “Uplift.”
As you might remember, in March of this year, the city abruptly removed the artwork citing that they had “uncovered inconsistencies” with the sculpture. The $70,000 sculpture, of metal birds designed by Mexican schoolchildren using recycled metals from confiscated guns, is supposed to represent a celebration of the drop in violence in Cd. Juárez.
There have been persistent rumors that the artwork was removed by the city because of guns being part of the design. I have not been able to confirm if this was the case, as the city has not commented publicly. Apparently and according to Cabrera’s attorney’s filing, the city has also not communicated with the artist as to why her work was removed from the runabout.
This is not the first time Cabrera’s public art has become controversial. The public artwork was originally scheduled to be placed on a roundabout on the Eastside but in August of 2014, it was moved to the Country Club-Montoya runabout. This led to city council infighting between the two west side city representatives, Ann Morgan Lilly and Cortney Niland versus Lily Limon and Michiel Noe who argued that the eastside was being shortchanged on public art. The sculpture move was precipitated because the runabout scheduled for Montwood and Wedgewood was canceled after the residents opposed the runabout.
As a result, the Cabrera “Uplift” artwork, although under contract, did not have a place. The Country Club-Montoya runabout needed public art and it was decided that the Cabrera sculpture would be placed there.
Many of us believe that the abrupt removal of the taxpayer-funded artwork would be news worthy not only because of the abruptness of the removal and the possible destruction of public art but also because of the controversy surrounding the rumors about guns. Yet, other than a quick post about the removal, the El Paso news outlets have not given us an in depth report about the issue.
Traditional news media has become slow, cumbersome or simply incompetent in the delivery of the news. The fact that the news media seems to have not even attempted to investigate the removal of the artwork, despite the persistent rumors of the controversial use of guns, only reinforces the notion that the news media only regurgitates press releases issued by government agencies.
The questions about the artwork still remained until a citizen, Miguel Juárez, took it upon himself to report to the community the news about the artwork.
Kudos to Miguel Juárez for filling in for the local news media and bringing you the news that matters to you – the taxpayers.
After reading what Juárez is reporting about the controversy you will get a better understanding of it. You can read the actual letter and Miguel’s report by going to this link.
Now sit back and enjoy while the news media suddenly jumps on the PDF letter that Juárez shared and they “report” on it. I would not at all be surprised to hear or read “only on…” or “we were the first to report” while all of them do not bother to give Miguel Juárez the credit for breaking the news to the community.
Regardless, Juárez has put the local news media on notice that citizens will not stand by while news happens all around them. The rise of the citizen journalist will be filling in the missing pieces the news outlets incompetently ignore.