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Dennis Webb going to Grand Junction newspaper

John GardnerPost Independent StaffGlenwood Springs, Colorado Colorado
Dennis Webb
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GLENWOOD SPRINGS Colorado Many nights, in the corner of the newsroom, sat Post Independent reporter Dennis Webb tapping on the keys of his laptop computer. His eyes fixed on the screen in solid concentration, head slightly bobbing in a rhythmic motion as deadline loomed. The sun was a distant memory.The discoloration on the white computer keys and where his hands rest around the touchpad are evidence of his dedication.Its only been a couple of months for PI readers getting used to not seeing the Dennis Webb byline in the newspaper. As the sun rose this morning another era began at the PI as the current news editor and longtime reporter will see his last deadline for the Post Independent tonight. Nearly 20 years after his first day on the beat.Theres been a lot of changes, Webb said, a tone of seriousness behind his grin. When youve been a part of something for so long its hard to accept that you are no longer going to be a part of it.Monday, Webb will begin another story of his career as he pens his first stories for the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel as its Garfield County reporter. Its not something that he planned, but when you are good at what you do, the opportunities come knocking.For Post Independent managing editor Dale Shrull, Webb was the person who hired him as the newspapers sports editor back in 1996.Dennis Webb is one of the finest journalists Ive ever had the pleasure of working with, Shrull said. For myself, the community and the Post Independent newsroom, were not only losing a great journalist but were also saying good-bye to a great friend.Webb began his illustrious career in the valley on Aug. 1, 1989, when the newspaper was a Webb: A2Monday-through-Friday evening publication called the Glenwood Post. He was hired as the managing editor and remained in the position for nine years prior to becoming a reporter.I look back at some of the first journalists I hired, helped and also had the opportunity to work with over the years, Webb said.PI staff reporter and columnist Heidi Rice was one of Webbs first employees.Some of them you hope you can teach something about the job, he said. And some of them, you just get out of their way.He got out of Rices way fast and was also the one who encouraged her to begin writing her column, Fried Rice, 12 years ago.Its his fault I started writing my column, Rice said. And now, every time I look at my checkbook and laugh, I think of Dennis Webb.But even the ever-witty Rice turned serious with the departure of her longtime colleague and friend.Hes an icon and an extremely respected journalist in the valley, Rice said. Hes been my boss, my co-worker, friend and now my competitor. Its just a new phase of the relationship.Living in the valley for close to two decades, Webbs played a leadership role in the community as he did in the newsroom. He volunteered with programs such as Literacy Outreach, where he began tutoring students shortly after he moved to Glenwood. He served on the LO board for a number of years and is also the organizer of the Glenwood Canyon Shuffle, a 5K and half-marathon fundraiser that aids LO. I think its an important role for journalists to support programs that promote reading, Webb said.Hes also been involved with the newspapers annual Garfield County Humanitarian Service Awards program virtually since its inception 19 years ago.His wit, humor and professionalism that he brought to those awards is just one more thing that will be missed.Its Webbs commitment to the community thats earned him respect and acquired him a lot of friends outside the newsroom as well. Glenwood Springs Mayor Bruce Christensen can attest to that.I like to consider him a friend, Christensen said. I think Dennis is a top-flight reporter with good knowledge and insight into the background of the issues he covers. When he was working on the story, we knew that he was going to get it right. I hate to see him leave.Webbs new position may take him away from the PI readership; however, he will still be a valuable part of the community. He and his wife of 21 years, Joyce Webb, reside on Silt Mesa. Hell still cover a lot of the same issues he has for so long. So, it wasnt the change in scenery that attracted him to the new position, it was his excessive thirst for reporting.Being a writer, its all in your hands, Dennis said. I enjoy being on the scene and writing about the important issues that affect the community. The biggest thing I will miss is the newsroom atmosphere.Another story for another day.So, tonight, as the sun retreats, the words of famed journalist Edward R. Murrow will resonate within the PI newsroom Good night and good luck, our friend.Contact John Gardner: 384-9114jgardner@postindependent.comPost Independent, Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO


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