Losing a true champion: Former Citizen Telegram editor Sandra Hanson passes

Theresa Hamilton
Former Citizen Telegram editor Sandra (Sandy) Hanson holding her trusty camera.

Local journalism lost a true champion with the unexpected passing of former Citizen Telegram editor Sandra (Sandy) Hanson on April 4, 2023. 

Sandy spent over eight years at the Telegram (1993-2001) telling the stories and sharing the images of the community that she loved. During her tenure at the Telegram, she worked for Community Newspapers Inc, Morris Communications, and finally Swift before leaving the paper in 2001.

A talented photographer, Sandy spent hours in the dark room perfecting the images in print before the days of digital cameras and the ease of Photoshop. With the changes in ownership, came technological updates that Sandy embraced. Exit printing photos and stories to paste onto flats, and enter the realm of computerized composition, digital photography and word processing.

Sandy’s favorite stories were about the people and kids doing amazing things in their communities. Working for a weekly paper, the focus was on telling the great story and how news that others were able to tell first, would truly impact the people in Parachute, Rifle and Silt. 

When you work for a community newspaper, the things you do in your free time tend to spill over into your work. Going to the Garfield County County Fair, Rifle Rendezvous or Silt Hey Day became the opportunity to share the images of these foundational events with those who could not attend. Sporting events became the time to share a great comeback story and Sandy did them well, winning awards from the Colorado Press Association in sports writing, news writing, photography, layout and design, and in 2000, she received the Shining Star Award.

After leaving the Citizen Telegram, Sandy continued serving western Garfield County. She became the public information officer for Garfield 16 School District, and spent the last 14 years working for the Family Visitor Program as their director of development and then the assistant director. 

As a leader, she was fair, direct and passionate about the Citizen Telegram. She never forgot the trust that was placed in her by Community Newspapers, Inc., a group of community members dedicated to ensuring that Rifle kept a local newspaper and she maintained her journalistic integrity throughout her tenure.

Theresa Hamilton is a longtime Rifle resident and former reporter for the Citizen Telegram, taking the job in 1995. Hamilton now serves as the Garfield Re-2 School District’s director of communications.

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