We always had a newspaper in the house.
My parents were Mexican immigrants who didn’t have a lick of formal education.
It’s not that my father didn’t have an interest in current events; he did. But reading a newspaper and taking himself and his three sons to the library a whole lot – allowing us to come home with arms full of books – was how my father taught himself to read and write in two languages.
It didn’t much matter that his English, written and spoken, wasn’t always what the language police might have deemed acceptable. All his role-modeling made me a writer. As important, it made me an avid reader of the news, which is to say Dad made me a highly curious cuss with an inclination to question authority and to ask why things happen. (I’ve always found why the most important of who, what, where, when, why and how).
Thanks, Dad. And thanks Mom, for gracing me with your heart.
And here I am at Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service as its first managing editor. My first day was Jan. 31.
A long and rewarding journalism career has had me covering everything from crime and local government to Congress, federal agencies and the U.S. Supreme Court. This journalism journey has also allowed me to fill various columnist or editor roles in California, Texas, Arizona and Wisconsin newsrooms.
My last stop at a daily newspaper was as editorial page editor at the San Antonio Express-News, a job I also held at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
There has been a constant in this career that made me recognize this new role at NNS as a good fit.
What appeals is our mission at NNS.
Writ large, journalism focuses on the good, the needs and the issues swirling within the communities we cover. Our mission at NNS is to provide this coverage in hyper-local fashion for Milwaukee’s North Side and South Side communities. But our audience is both inside and outside these communities.
Here’s what also appeals to that journalist for whom “why” is the most important question. These are neighborhoods that face a daunting array of challenges that also bring out the best in people as they meet them.
We aim to cover both sides of this coin: The good work that occurs and the solutions and resources that need to be applied to meet those challenges.
NNS Editor Ron Smith likes to synthesize what we do this way: We celebrate, educate and illuminate. Said another way, we find people doing good things, inform readers about and connect them to the resources they need and keep a watchdog eye on the people and entities that serve the community.
This excellent work was occurring before I got here. My task is to focus on the content to make us even more informative and impactful, freeing up Editor Smith more to make nonprofit NNS even more sustainable.
I know that continuing to make the news on our site meaningful and solutions-oriented is going to be a big part of making us sustainable.
It is without an ounce of hyperbole that I tell you this is a labor of love. That I get to work with people at NNS – and in those organizations with which we partner – who share this passion is just icing.
You can help me and us be worthy of providing this service to you. You can support us in what we do in a number of ways, but perhaps most by telling us what you think needs coverage, who needs help and what solutions can be brought to bear to meet the community’s challenges.
My career has taken me many places. I am thrilled that it has brought me back to Milwaukee. And to NNS.
You can reach O. Ricardo Pimentel at Oscar.firstname.lastname@example.org and at 414-288-8056
Geary Morales says
Looking forward to seeing the variety of content you plan on providing, being a local MKE writer and journalist myself.
Thomas J Radoszewski says
As a long-time fan and friend, I look forward to reading this source of news. Will editorial writing be part of your job description? Or opinion writing?
Cary Spivak says
Hiring you is a big win for NNS, Ronshine and your team of reporters.
Do me a favor — If you have to beat The MJS on a story, try to target something I’m not covering
Congrats, Mazel Tov and good luck.