On the 25th Anniversary of Selena’s Death—My April 1995 Letter to the Corpus Christi Caller-Times

Selena, like Sam Cooke over 30 years before, was murdered in a seedy wrong-side-of-town motel 25 years ago today. In response to those tragic events I wrote the following letter to the editor. To my surprise, the newspaper did publish an edited version of it. It is written from the standpoint of a young naval officer in the early stages of transitioning back to civilian life who had been stationed in the city for two years but who essentially knew nothing about Selena. I felt bad about that. I felt even worse about the fact that racist Corpus Christi and its institutions should have known more about the truly international stature of this remarkable young woman, who was taken from us much too soon.

To the Editor:

It would appear that David House would have us believe that critics of Caller-Times coverage of the Selena shooting are merely “blaming the messenger instead of the message.” Mr. House rejects the thesis that coverage of the incident was exploitative and commercial. Selena’s death certainly was news; no one can doubt that. Unfortunately an examination of the Caller-Times’ reactionary response to this tragedy reveals that commercial considerations played a considerable role and that the paper was largely surprised to find that Selena was as popular as she was.

“The Queen of Tejano Music” and “The Latin Madonna” were some of the descriptions I read of Selena in national newspapers such as the San Francisco Examiner and The New York Times when news of her death broke. One would think that a woman who had ascended to such heights in the Hispanic Community would be admired, perhaps even worshipped, in her hometown; unfortunately that wasn’t the case. Selena has received more news coverage (and more focus has been placed on her life story) in the past few weeks than when she was alive. That this is to be expected of papers like the New York Times goes without saying; that coverage of this Latin mega-star was not even worthy of consistent front page coverage in the Caller-Times (in fact coverage of her, and of Tejano music in general, is often relegated to the “Living” or “Local” portion or the “Tejano Beat” section) is deeply disturbing and reveals some fundamental truths about the newspaper and this city.

Many non-Hispanics didn’t even know who Selena was. I didn’t. Many view the Tejano subculture as a curiosity, a sort of weird hybrid. Others simply don’t care for the music. So how is it that People Magazine has now released a special version dedicated to Selena for release in the Southwest? Is it because they cared about her and her music all along? And how is it that the Caller-Times, in the words of Mr. House, now decides that “It is no small decision to decide to publish a section, such as Como la Flor, that carries no advertising, no “‘paid space.'” when it could have published something like it while Selena was still alive?

After the death of Selena and the subsequent media feeding frenzy that How do viagra from canadian pharmacies these people get their grimy hands on your email address. Learning becomes a collaborative, goal-oriented task rather than a generalized desire to overnight cialis tadalafil why not check here ‘stay current.’ At a more mundane level, leaders must tend to the organizational structures that support continuous learning, squeezing time out of a busy schedule, collecting and disseminating information that accurately tracks the organization’s performance, and creating forms of governance that support collective inquiry. European doctors have used healing online cialis sale mineral water extensively. These web medical stores will free viagra 100mg then provide you the right advice. ensued, who did the national media initially turn to to find out about the local “beat?” Why their affiliates and colleagues at the Caller-Times of course. The paper must certainly have been excited and grateful for the exposure. The seeds of self-congratulation are already evident in Mr. House’s writing: “The reporters and editors who worked harder than I’ve seen this staff work in my seven years here were focusing strictly on news value as they struggled to cover a rare confluence of stories that had international interest.” I guess “The Latin Madonna” wasn’t worthy of consistent front page coverage while she was alive. Not even in her own hometown. It will be interesting to see how this careerist posing cloaked in virtue plays out in the coming months.

Did the Caller-Times completely ignore Selena while she was alive? Of course not. But as the deification of her legacy continues, how is it that an international superstar of her stature, one of the most prominent (Hispanic) citizens of this community, a local girl made good could be so consistently overlooked in her own community? Maybe telling her story would have been boring. She never seemed to be a big deal here. Sure, her public service announcements were nice, but that doesn’t sell newspapers. In fact, the safe anonymity (amongst most non-Hispanics, at any rate) she enjoyed in Corpus Christi seemed to be something Selena simultaneously relished and wondered about. It’s possible that the Caller-Times simply didn’t think coverage of Selena was newsworthy. The reasons behind a decision like that are of no small interest and are something worth exploring….. Nevertheless, if the paper did think that covering Selena while she was alive wasn’t “news” it sure thinks so now. If the Caller-Times had wanted to more vigorously promote Selena’s uplifting story it certainly wouldn’t have had to look very far. That it took her death for the Caller -Times to discover what a wonderful person she was is unfortunate. But then again that’s the whole point of journalism in the first place, isn’t it? Going out to get stories and not waiting for them to come to you…. Especially since “Newspaper journalists get into this business because they are driven by curiosity, a thirst for knowledge, and the desire to help people.”

F. McGhee