New Post Independent editor Peter Baumann is ready to lead conversations
After a blown-out tire on his U-Haul truck left him on the side of the road for four hours, Peter Baumann wondered if that was a bad sign.
Last week, he left the role of managing editor of the Duluth News Tribune in Minnesota and was making his way west to take on the editor’s hat at the Glenwood Springs Post Independent — a position he takes charge of today.
The move from the port city near Lake Superior to the Colorado Rocky Mountains proved to be more pleasant after the tire incident. More than 1,000 miles and an extra overnight stop at Des Moines later, Baumann made it to Glenwood Springs, where he is now “60% settled in.”
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Among the items that didn’t make the moving truck was his reach-in freezer, often used to keep wild game meat.
An occasional hunter in his native Wyoming, Baumann hopes to have better luck deer hunting in Garfield County than he had in Minnesota.
“The wolves there were definitely more successful than I was,” he said with a laugh.
Passionate for the outdoors, the 35-year-old said he wants to see more outdoor and recreation content in the Post Independent.
“This is an area within the United States where everyone works two or three jobs and still go rock climbing or snowboarding,” he said. “People live here because of their passions, and we can highlight those stories.”
An unexpected phone call
Holding a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Wyoming, Baumann has about seven years of news editorship experience.
The first time Baumann held a newspaper editor position was in 2013 at the Laramie Boomerang in Wyoming — where he was promoted twice by the paper’s publisher — from reporter to assistant editor to managing editor.
When the Post Independent position became available in June, Baumann’s phone rung. It was that same publisher from Wyoming, Jerry Raehal, who now leads the Glenwood Springs newspaper.
For Raehal, reaching out to Baumann was a matter of ‘it’.
“In our field, you can see the non-definable ‘it’ that people have or don’t have when it comes to journalism,” Raehal said. “That ‘it’ can be knowing a good story, when to press, or when to pass, or how to handle something. From the moment I met Peter, it was clear he had ‘it.’
“Combine ‘it’ with his passion for journalism, his coaching and his strong work ethic, and it was easy to see why he was promoted when I was with him, and why he continued to be promoted afterward. We’re excited to see what he does here in Garfield County.”
Baumann is downsizing from leading a 15-person newsroom in Minnesota to an editorial staff of nine at the Post Independent.
“I really enjoy helping reporters and photographers do their jobs,” he said.
With a smaller staff, Baumann hopes to explore an individualized approach to leadership.
“One of the challenges was that it was getting hard for me to give the amount of time each one of them deserved,” Baumann said.
Taking the lead
The new Post Independent editor officially starts on his new role Wednesday, with a 10-day boarding plan that includes company-wide meetings and trainings, before the complete handover from the PI’s current editor John Stroud.
Stroud, a longtime Post Independent reporter who stepped into the editor’s position in January 2018, is transitioning to a senior reporter role and will act as a managing editor.
“As much as I’ve enjoyed being the lead editor of your community newspaper, I’ve come to the realization that my true passion is reporting,” explained Stroud in his last column as an editor in July.
“I am incredibly appreciative of having John with us,” said Baumann. “He has considerable institutional knowledge of the area and to have him as a resource and guide for myself and the newsroom is incredibly valuable.”
For Baumann, journalism is an industry “evolving at an uncomfortable pace,” but his first impression is that the Roaring Fork Valley seems to go against the negative impacts of this trend.
“My impression is that people here want to be informed and care about their local news organizations,” said Baumann, who also appreciates the diversity of opinions across Garfield County.
“I like that opinions are mixed here. That leads to great conversations and stories.”
As Baumann takes his time to explore the area, he hopes to get suggestions from the readers.
“If you have something that you think I should discover or know about, please let me know,” he said. “There may be an opportunity to meet people and talk about the news.”
Baumann can be reached at (970) 384-9114 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
We took our new editor to one of the most popular spots in Glenwood Springs, the Doc Holliday’s Grave Trailhead, where he got to talk about his first impressions of the area and his expectations for the new job.
The musical catalogue is too deep to put any one album on repeat! That said, I’ve been listening to Tyler Children’s “Country Squire” and Tycho’s “Weather” quite a bit recently.
Favorite newsroom movie/TV show:
I’ll go with the fifth season of “The Wire.”
What’s still on your summer bucket list:
A lot! One thing I want to do is take my motorcycle up the transfer trail and camp somewhere north of Glenwood Springs.
“The White Album” by Joan Didion.
Favorite social media:
Best concert you’ve been to:
This year was Bob Mould at a small club in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Favorite winter sport:
16 ounce dark roast with nothing added.
Favorite news subscription:
This is hard but I’ll say The Atlantic.
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According to Mark Gould Jr., Gould Construction will provide face coverings to all of its employees on the job site.