The Other Gotcha Journalism 

Recently a reader with whom I am personally acquainted stopped me in a bar with one very direct question: Given all the hullabaloo over the SNUS ads BW has recently run, and given the paper's general for-the-good-of-the-community attitude, why are you running those ads? I stumbled through an answer fraught with resignation over the issue and some lame line about it not being my call, seeing as how my responsibility is solely over the words and not the ads. Ironically, that was also the day I read the first draft of this week's feature "Up With Smoke."

I've said time and again in this space that we maintain an ironclad wall between advertising and editorial at Boise Weekly. Judging by the number of times I've recently had to explain that to readers and advertisers alike, it's clearly extremely confusing. So here we go again: editorial does whatever the hell it wants regardless of what our advertisers may like. That does not mean we don't appreciate them, it simply means they don't buy our affection.

The reason I'm re-covering all that ground is to explain this week's main feature. Since long before the SNUS controversy played out in BW's Mail section, Dr. Roberta T. Axidea has been investigating this week's story with reporting gathered from across the globe. While Axidea's findings are extraordinary, I'd like to be clear that it is in no way tied to any recent dustups over advertising. Regular BW readers will remember Axidea's past work. The good doctor has a reputation for producing groundbreaking material. Last year she uncovered an unsettling plot afoot among development circles to relocate the city's dearly departed in order to make room for condos. And several years back, Axidea reported on the possibility that Basques are indigenous to Idaho, exposing a serious potential wrinkle in the map of human history.

I trust this year's read will be as convincing as anything Axidea has written previously.

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