I was born Christopher Chad LaGrone but legally changed my name in 2014 to Ian Hayden Parker. Arriving in Mexico over a decade ago, and always being known as ‘Chad’, I found the introductions to be longer than they needed to be as native Spanish speakers had a difficulty with understanding my name, often calling me Chut or Chat.
Joking with a friend one day while enjoying Los Muertos Beach, I suggested I was going to change my name. I quickly grabbed my cell phone and searched for ‘popular baby names 2013’. The first three results were Ian, Hayden, and Parker. Thus, my new name was born. Starting as a nickname and turning into a legally bounding name in both the U.S. and Mexico a year later.
I was born in February 1972, in Tampa, Florida. As a young adult, I moved to Atlanta, Ga., where I always have considered my home. When people ask where I am from, the answer is always Atlanta. Not too many people want to admit Florida as their birthplace. Sorry, mom :)
Somewhere around the age of 35 I sold everything I owned and moved to Puerto Vallarta without ever visiting before, had never crossed the southern border before moving to Mexico, and my Spanish was limited to hola, taco, and tequila.
My background is in marketing and branding, and the owner of Gotcha Brands, along with multiple international recognitions for my work.
PVDN is a term given to Vallarta Daily by my readers, it eventually grew into the brand of the site, meaning ‘Puerto Vallarta Daily News’.
After arriving in Puerto Vallarta, it took me several years to make the transition from ‘vacation’ mode to the realization that this was my life, my home. Once that realization was clear, I started to seek out my ‘groove’, discover my place within the Puerto Vallarta community.
During this transition, I grew increasingly frustrated that there was no English news available for foreigners who lived in Puerto Vallarta. All the news was catered to the tourism industry, but even a decade ago I knew Puerto Vallarta was changing, and so was the way people would get their news and information, and what kind of news and information they desired.
Sure, Puerto Vallarta was (and still is) a booming tourist town, but bubbling up was the fast-growing population of foreigners calling Vallarta home. We were more than just a place for tourism, we were a home and community without a news outlet speaking to us.
Puerto Vallarta has changed, and so has the place people have turned to for local and national news.
On April 5, 2014, I launched PVDN with the purpose of serving real news to the growing expat/foreigner community of Puerto Vallarta. My hunch that Puerto Vallarta craved more than news through the tourist lens turned out to be exactly what people were looking for. By 2018, PVDN was the most read English news site in Puerto Vallarta, and today I receive an average of 800,000 page views every month. To put that into a comparison, the oldest and previously most read English news in Puerto Vallarta advertises 1.5 million page views a year, our readership for only 2-months.
Easy. None. Ziltch. This only shows that the success of PVDN is because of a deep desire from people to have a source for news outside of the cheerleading of tourism. Don’t get me wrong, I love tourism, I am launching a tourism site about Puerto Vallarta, PVRGo.Com, but there doesn’t need to be a choice between real news or tourism, we can have both. PVDN has proven that with readership from foreigners living in Puerto Vallarta, Mexican nationals, and also tourists who seek information about our area through PVDN.
We can do both. We have done both.
I often joke that as a kid growing up with ADD and dyslexia, I was the unlikely candidate for managing a locally successful media website.
My political views don’t matter, but what I can say is that I am frustrated that we have labels for media. Liberal or Conservative media. News should be truthful media.
My coverage of crime, or even rain, in Puerto Vallarta is often met with pushback. Many people want news in Puerto Vallarta to be biased, not politically, but with an agenda of only reporting news that is beneficial to tourism, no matter how important other news is to the community that calls Puerto Vallarta home.
I cannot, in good conscience, report only ‘feel good’ stories and tourism promotions and label myself as news. Promoting just one side of the community is biased at its core, something that does not have a place in journalism. If the focus of a publication is tourism, it’s a tourism/lifestyle publication, not news.
There are actually some widely accepted ethics for journalism:
Ethical journalism should be accurate and fair. Journalists should be honest and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting information.
The highest and primary obligation of ethical journalism is to serve the public. For this reason, I have declined every offer for free tickets, free drinks, free meals, and other complementary items from businesses or individuals in Puerto Vallarta. You won’t find me accepting anything for free for any reason. It’s unethical in this business.
Ethical journalism means taking responsibility for one’s work and explaining one’s decisions to the public. I am human, and like every human, I make mistakes. When those mistakes are pointed out or realized, I correct them and apologize for those mistakes. On the other side, I stand by the news I publish and don’t allow ‘fake news’ propaganda and social media comments to distort the truth of a story. I will fight to report and deliver factual news without those who have personal, professional, or political agendas to distort facts or cast doubts to benefit them.
I offer a process for anyone who has factual evidence of an error in my reporting to submit a retraction/correction. All corrections should have evidence from a first-party source connected to the story. Corrections are not opinions or something read on social media or seen on a different news network.
Where do I receive the news I publish?
I fail sometimes, but with each failure, I try to do better. That should be all of our goals.