GSPI managing editor Heather McGregor to step down May 7
GSPI News Editor
A 20-year career in local journalism will come to an end May 7 when Heather McGregor steps down as managing editor of the Glenwood Springs Post Independent.
McGregor, 48, will be splitting her time between Glenwood and Denver, where her husband, Steve Smith, has been hired as assistant regional director of the Denver office of The Wilderness Society.
Former GSPI Publisher Valerie Smith hired McGregor as editor in September 2001. McGregor, who was raised in Littleton, has been a journalist for 25 years, working first in Montrose and then Gunnison.
She began her local journalism career in April 1984 as a Glenwood bureau reporter for the Daily Sentinel in Grand Junction. In 1998, she joined the Glenwood Independent as a reporter. When the Independent’s parent company, Swift, bought the Glenwood Post in November 2000, McGregor became a reporter for the newly merged papers.
She said she feels she and the GSPI newsroom accomplished a lot during her tenure, but she is looking forward to giving up the responsibilities of editor.
“The hours and the demands on my time are something I no longer want to have on my shoulders,” McGregor said.
McGregor had planned to accept a regional reporting position with the GSPI, but those plans changed with The Wilderness Society’s job offer to her husband.
“If Steve hadn’t gotten this job I would have loved to have taken this regional reporting position. It would have been fun to have been out in the field again, talking to people and finding out what’s going on. That’s really the best part of being a journalist here ” working with this wonderful community. And who knows, years from now I may come back and want to write again,” she said.
GSPI Publisher Mike Bennett said he’s sorry to see McGregor go.
“But I’m happy for the opportunities that she and her husband have,” he said.
He cited the redesign of the paper as one of McGregor’s legacies as editor.
McGregor said she is proud of the paper’s improved appearance and organization.
Other accomplishments under her stead include creation of an editorial board and the writing of more regular editorials, streamlining of the letters to the editor policy to result in more diversity in opinions, introduction of the “Independent Voices” panel of readers who regularly comment on issues of the day, much-improved content of the GSPI Web site, winning of statewide awards for layout and design, and launching of a locally produced Sunday color comics section, “including my favorite comic, ‘Prince Valiant,'” McGregor said.
She said she and her news staff also covered the Coal Seam Fire of 2002 and that summer’s entire wildfire season with distinction.
Although McGregor hopes to continue her journalism career on the Front Range, she plans to take some time first to catch her breath after the rigors of her current job.
“I’m going to just take the summer off and travel, goof off, repaint the bathroom ” you wouldn’t believe the amount of projects that I’ve neglected at home.”
Between the bees her husband raises at their home, the gardens and fruit trees requiring attention there, and their desire to maintain local ties, McGregor and her husband decided it would be best to set up dual households in Denver and Glenwood.
“We’ll keep our home here and we’ll be home on as many weekends as possible,” she said.
They’ll have some incentive for returning to Glenwood often.
“We’re keeping our pool pass,” McGregor said with a smile.
Bennett said he hopes to have a new editor on board by May 3, so that person can spend some time working with McGregor before she leaves. He said he will be looking for someone who is a strong community journalist, interested in continuing to improve local news coverage.
McGregor isn’t worried about the GSPI’s future.
“We’re all replaceable ” the paper will be fine,” she said. “I’m confident that Mike Bennett will hire a very good editor to replace me and that person will come in with a fresh perspective ” and hopefully a deep reservoir of energy.”
Contact Dennis Webb: 945-8515, ext. 516
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