Recently my publicist started sending out press releases to local newspapers and magazines for a feature story consideration. For anybody out there in business development, marketing, or public relations, you’re aware of the labor in drafting cover letters to specifically target editors, while appealing to their overall audience with a finely crafted press release. Research suggests that people are more interested in sex, health, money, controversy, and violence, so with that in mind, if your piece contains any of these elements then you have a better chance of getting it printed. The Easy Reader Newspaper was established in 1970, and is a weekly newspaper that focuses on South Bay news, more specifically it covers Manhattan Beach, Redondo Beach, Hermosa Beach, and El Segundo, however, they’ve also covered stories about Hawthorne, Lawndale, and Torrance in the past. Therefore, because I am a local South Bay/Westside author, and my book covers street gangs in the area, a press release was sent to the editor of the arts and entertainment section about my most recent book, Urban Politics: The Political Culture of Sur 13 Gangs.
This was the response we received from Arts & Entertainment editor, Bondo Wyszpolski:
We pretty much stick to our circulation area of Redondo, Hermosa, Manhattan Beach, and El Segundo, so unless Rodrigo Ribera d’Ebre lives in one of these towns we probably would not be interested in a story, and that’s also because (not to paint our communities as lily-white) there would be more Mexican American gangs further inland where there would be a somewhat larger Latino population.
So there you are, and I hope this helps.
My best to you, Bondo
So let’s analyze this response for a moment. First of all, it is erroneous that they only stick to those specific areas of circulation. If you go online and type in their newspaper with other South Bay cities attached, you’ll find other stories outside of that circulation. Second, it sounds to me like he already assumes I do not live in one of those cities, most likely because of my Mexican American background and the content of the book. Words like “unless, and probably not,” sound negative in tone rather than positive. Had he said something like, “Oh great, where does he live?” then the intonation pattern would be conveyed differently, unlike a racial bias. He mentions that they wouldn’t be interested in the story because of that. Which is what specifically? He doesn’t know where I live and they do cover South Bay stories in general. And why does he assume that I do not cover that territorial base, because of white people? Third, he excuses his rejection by stating, “not to paint our communities as lily-white.” What does that even mean? Is he trying to say that there are only white people in those cities? Or that white people aren’t interested in my content? Or that white people in those communities don’t know or care about street gangs and politics? White people who have read my book have been extremely supportive of its content regardless of where they live. I think his response is presumptuous and shallow.
Furthermore, he continues to say that there are more Mexican American gangs inland where there are higher concentrations of Latinos. While this is true, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t gangs in those communities. The Nazi Lowriders (a mostly white gang that welcomes Mexican descent), the Aryan Brotherhood, and other racist skinhead groups (more white gangs) have always been active in the beach cities and are mentioned in my book. Also, several Lennox and Lawndale boys have always lived in El Segundo, and there is a North Side Redondo 13 gang. What I find most interesting is that he actually took the time to sit down, analyze his thoughts, write this email, and send it out. Most editors simply don’t respond if they’re not interested in a piece, but this chap went out of his way to voice his racial bias. Thanks again for reinforcing prejudice and racial stereotypes against minority groups.
Boycott Bondo! Boycott Bondo! Boycott Bondo!