This week we asked Ricardo Baca — The Denver Post’s marijuana editor — to answer five questions about marijuana legalization and about his new position at the Post. You can follow Baca (@bruvs) on Twitter here and see him on “This Week” tomorrow.
1. So, briefly, describe a typical day for you at The Denver Post. What does a marijuana editor do? And how are things going so far?
Baca: A typical day will have us (my producer Aleta and I) updating The Post’s culture-of-cannabis site, The Cannabist, (thecannabist.co) in the morning – with news content from The Denver Post and its partner papers and our own features and criticism from The Cannabist’s freelancers. We have a weekly schedule, so you’ll always see weed reviews on Mondays and Fridays and enhanced recipes on Wednesdays, and so on. As the day progresses, we’ll blog and respond to pitches and do our best to make sure the site reflects the week’s happenings. Things are going well at The Cannabist. We’re starting to find our stride. After debuting on Dec. 29, we were all pleased with our first month of traffic.
2. How do people typically react when you tell them about your job? Any particular reactions especially memorable?
Baca: We were in Aspen recently, and a group of older folks at the table next to us at the Woody Creek Tavern asked me what I do. When I told them, they said, ‘Oh,’ awkwardly smiled and looked away. But that’s the rarity. For the most part, people are curious and want to know more. Most people hear marijuana editor and think automatically that I’m sampling the goods. So that’s when I tell them that I have two critics for that work.
3. You said on “The View” that you hired two critics. How does one decide who would be adept at reviewing strains of marijuana?
Baca: I’ve seen more than 500 resumes for the critic job, and we landed two talented folks, Jake and Brittany. For me, it was about the warmth of their writing and the knowledge and confidence behind their information. They both have a natural way of telling a story that brings people in, and I also appreciate their different perspectives. Jake is a stand-up comedian with lots of weed industry experience, and Brittany is a young mom who recently moved to Colorado from Texas.
4. You’ve said that you do in fact use marijuana. Did you feel any reservations about saying that publicly and do you worry at all now about how people perceive how you make a living?
Baca: I do use it on occasion, medically and recreationally. And at first, it felt very strange and backwards to say that publicly, given the last 80 years of legislation in the U.S. But my colleagues and I at The Post knew that being honest with our readers is paramount. Since we also knew that I would be asked that question in the course of my appointment to this job, we knew it was the right thing to do.
5. What do you hope to accomplish in your new role? What’s your mission?
Baca: My goal with the work we’re doing is to create a base of cultural journalism that reflects the time in which we live, which is a fascinating time. I also hope that eventually the work we do at The Cannabist holds up to the stellar work being done on the news side of this marijuana story by our colleagues at The Denver Post and our partner papers within Digital First Media.
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