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Meet the Post Independent’s newest reporter

Jessica Peterson to focus on arts, entertainment

Jessica Peterson
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

A native of the Chicagoland area, new Post Independent reporter Jessica Peterson marked her first day on the job with a bit of wintry weather Monday.

Peterson’s reporting will focus on arts and entertainment but with an eye toward highlighting all things fun for both locals and visitors to do in Garfield County. She also plans to put her Spanish language skills to use while helping tell the stories of Garfield County.

A graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Peterson holds a bachelor’s in editorial journalism and a minor in Spanish. She also studied abroad in Grenada, Spain. Her previous editorial work includes creating bilingual content, a reporter for a small-town publication and editor-in-chief of a student publication at her alma mater.

Peterson talked with Editor Peter Baumann on her first day about coming to Glenwood Springs and what she looks forward to at the Post Independent.

You arrived in Glenwood Springs last Friday — what are your thoughts about Glenwood Springs so far? What was it about our Colorado community that first interested you?

Since 2014 or so I’ve wanted to move out to Colorado after visiting my aunt in Crested Butte for many ski seasons. I’ve described Glenwood Springs to my friends back in the Chicagoland area as a place where everywhere you look you’ll see a mountain. It’s beautiful here, the people in the community seem down-to-earth and I’m excited for all the outdoor recreational opportunities nearby. 

Your prior journalism experience has been in and around larger municipalities. What is it about community journalism that you’re most excited about? What are some prior experiences that you think will be beneficial to your work here in Garfield County?

Spreading the word about community events or individuals who reside there is an excellent way to bring people together. I’m thrilled to be a part of furthering this process here in Glenwood. I’ve worked previously for an arts and entertainment publication, Buzz Magazine, and a yoga magazine dedicated to representing people from all backgrounds both in their articles and online lessons, Yoga International. I see both of these experiences helping me to report on Garfield County with an open perspective and the readiness to learn. 

You’re bilingual in Spanish and English, with prior experience providing bilingual content. How do you anticipate your language skills benefiting the community through your reporting?

I hope to be able to meet and connect with people who may only speak one of these languages. I’d like to be a resource and advocate for the Hispanic population as well as for other minority groups in Glenwood. 

How did you decide to go into journalism? What do you think are some of the challenges and opportunities facing our industry?

My path to journalism started with a love of poetry. After doing some research, I opted for a journalism major instead of one in creative writing for my undergraduate degree. I love meeting new people and learning something different every day, and I knew as a journalist I’d be able to keep doing both of these things. 

For the future, I’d like to see more conversations being started between readers and reporters. There is an added challenge nowadays for journalists and readers alike to fact check articles and not believe everything they read, regardless of the publication or outlet.

What are you most excited about over the coming year?

I can’t wait to visit more parts of Colorado, get to know the ins and outs of Glenwood and become a better skier than my siblings who are stuck in the Midwest!

What are some ways you enjoy being involved in the community in which you live and what are three fun things you’re most likely doing if not working?

I’m a big fan of local musicians and being able to attend live shows when I can, although things are definitely different because of the pandemic. The Vaudeville Theatre on Grand Avenue looks like a hilarious time, and I want to check out some of their shows to have a laugh and support local artists. When I’m not working you can probably find me FaceTiming with any one of my family’s three dogs from back home, practicing yoga or getting outside, adjusting to the altitude and soaking up as much sun as possible. 

Is there anything else you’d like the community to know? If a reader wants to reach out, what’s the best way to get a hold of you?

I am ready to listen and learn more from the members of this community, and am so thrilled to now be a part of it. Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any story ideas or feedback on pieces I’ve written! The best way to contact me will be through my email, jpeterson@postindependent.com.


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