Joseph Oldenbourg was first and foremost, a very fair, kind, deeply principled and honest family man. Those traits were profoundly evident in the way he oversaw the Valley Voice as its editor. Joseph believed it was his responsibility to do his part to see justice served.
He believed in our Citizens for Hospital Accountability cause when other news media didn’t or ignored us. He took up our cause truly as a brother-in-arms. Always willing to show up to meetings, to the courtroom, and work until late in the night on stories that just happened that day.
Although he had the final say, he gave great latitude to his reporters to go out and get the best story they could, and what he got in return for trusting their instincts were fantastic pieces of journalism at its finest. Award-winning journalism.
It is fair to say, although many of you may not be aware of it, without Joseph Oldenbourg, we definitely would not have had the success we had in rooting out the corruption in the previous hospital board, and of HCCA. He always called Tony Maldonado “a gem”, and so he is. Without Tony’s scrupulously researched stories, where would we be? Add in Dave Adalian, a bulldog reporter, and Catherine “the Chief”, and Joseph loved his paper and he loved the staff of the paper.
It was all so meaningful to him.
Citizens for Hospital Accountability is grateful beyond measure for the Valley Voice and for the inspiration of Joseph Oldenbourg. He was one in a million.
It’s ironic that as he put the paper to bed for his last time, the last line of his column summed it up. It was a quotation from Martin Luther King Jr.: “The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice.”
It is long, but we will continue that path toward justice. And we will never be without Joseph’s presence in spirit.
Well done, Joseph, good and faithful servant.
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Joseph was a credit to journalism and Tulare County. He will be missed.