Why do media organizations tend to ask the same handful of people to comment on certain topics again and again? It's a question I've had a chance to consider whenever I've been in the company of Artie Guerrero. Local TV viewers and newspaper readers know Guerrero as a veteran who was paralyzed as a result of his service in Vietnam -- an experience that informed his interviews this week with outlets such as Channel 4 and the Denver Post about the decision to build a new VA hospital in Aurora, on the University of Colorado medical campus. To me, however, he's Cousin Artie, a relative of my wife who's a regular presence at family gatherings -- and it took me all of five minutes to realize why he's a favorite of reporters. He's incredibly charismatic, the kind of person to whom folks naturally gravitate, and he exudes energy and vitality despite the ominipresence of his wheelchair; an active athlete, he's very involved with the National Sports Center for the Disabled (the reason he appeared on Channel 9 a month or so ago). And while he's got a great sense of humor, he speaks clearly, succinctly and with palpable passion about topics that are important to him, including the treatment of vets.
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Journalists love sources who fit this description. No wonder press operatives call Guerrero so often, and why they'll continue to do so. And who can blame them? After all, everyone loves talking to Cousin Artie.