People at The Daily Sentinel made journalism a great career
One would think that after 36-plus years in this business — more than 30 of those at The Daily Sentinel/GJSentinel.com — there would be much to say.
Surely, in all those decades there were huge stories to cover, important lessons to be learned. There must have been good times and bad.
Yes, there were all of those things. I suppose it’s the big stories that come to mind most quickly. The economic bust of the 1980s in western Colorado was the biggest, from my perspective, and the most important for the region.
But there were plenty of others. Some of them that stand out include the tragedies of Columbine, the North Avenue City Market shootings and the murder of Jennifer and disappearance and presumed murder of Abby Blagg at the hands of their husband and father.
There was the great work done by this staff on issues ranging from workers’ compensation abuse to how the state manages its multitude of natural resources to chronicling the lives of western Coloradans who do extraordinary things. There have been the usual passel of corrupt public officials whose misdeeds have been brought to light in the pages of The Daily Sentinel. And the never-ending stories of politicians promising one thing or another. The Daily Sentinel is blessed with a reporting staff that can handle all of those kinds of stories.
Those are just a few of the stories that I’ve shepherded along in my three decades here. There were thousands of others, most of them not so big, but to some reader out there every bit as important. That’s the thing about community journalism. We get to cover the big, adrenaline-producing stories, but just as important are the everyday happenings — the births, deaths, marriages, graduations, promotions and awards — that create the warp of the rich tapestry that is western Colorado.
We at The Daily Sentinel do all of that. After 30 years, I’m still amazed at what goes on around here on any given day.
How the sports staff manages to cover all the high schools that it does has always been a mystery to me. It’s truly phenomenal. The day-in and day-out quality of our photographers is a testament to not just their talent, but their dedication. Our copy editors care as much about the headlines they write for the top story on Page 1 as they do about the little stories about ordinary people inside the paper. And if anyone wants to know when and where something is going to happen, The Daily Sentinel and GJSentinel.com provide it. We can do it because we have people who care about each and every thing that goes on in this town and they care about getting all that information into your newspaper and on the Web site.
That’s the public side of this business. Behind the scenes, but every bit as important, are 150 other people who are all necessary to provide you with the quality newspaper and Web site you expect. There are people selling advertising. These days that’s one tough job. They are backed up by graphic artists who have more ideas in a day than a lot of us do in a year. There are pressmen who approach their jobs with the know-how of a master mechanic and the eyes of an artist. There are accountants who ensure we remain a viable business and customer-service reps who perform an often-thankless job and do it extraordinarily well. There are carriers who really do try their best to keep your newspaper out of the puddles. (They succeed more than 99.99 percent of the time.) There are administrative assistants who seemingly can do anything. And there are a talented bunch of executives that I am proud to call colleagues.
When it’s all said and done, and I walk out of this building this afternoon for the last time as an employee, it’s not the big stories that will be on my mind, or anything else that’s in the newspaper. What I’ll be thinking about and what I’ll miss the most is not the journalism. It’s the association with the wonderful people who work at 734 S. Seventh St.
That’s what this career has really been all about.