About a year ago, I started work on an (overly) ambitious project about the Point Reyes Light newspaper and its legendary publisher, Dave Mitchell. This was really the beginning of this foray into online multimedia reporting that continues to this day; although if I knew what kind of steep learning curve was involved in trying to cram a working knowledge of video lighting, audio engineering, video editing and compression, web design and site management in on top of the basic journalistic skills required just to get a decent moment on tape, I might have thought twice. Or taken more Gingko Biloba. Whatever.
Anyway – the saga of Mitchell and the Light inspired me to do a long multimedia report for OJR. Since then, Mitchell sold the paper to Robert Plotkin, a messianic former D.A. who, at first glace, seemed like just the sort of passionate paragon of journalistic integrity needed to carry on the mission of the Light. Last fall, Mitchell and Plotkin appeared on the cover of the Light, clinking champagne flutes and toasting the sale.
Unfortunately, since then, the two have come into conflict – a conflict that includes charges of attempted strangling, a restraining order and lurid charges and counter-charges. The New York Times has gone to press with a rather small and skimpy piece about the controversy – rather disappointing, seeing as how the reporter spent about a week there annoying the locals with constant inquiries.
Mitchell related his side of the story to me, and after the court hearing of May 12, and with his permission, I will publish a version of it in this space, and perhaps elsewhere, as needed.