Newsroom always changing, but its good journalism is a constant
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
In retrospect, it should have been a sign.
Last November, our talented local history columnist, Willa Soncarty, wrote about the cross on Red Mountain. And as I perused her story, there I was, being quoted from an article I had written about the cross in 1994.
When your writings start getting cited by historians, you know you’ve been working at a newspaper for a long time ” maybe even long enough that it’s time to move on.
In my case, I first joined this newspaper Aug. 1, 1989, as a wet-behind-the-ears managing editor of what was then a Monday-through-Friday, afternoon, 25-cents-at-the-newstand, broadsheet daily that was called the Glenwood Post.
It’s fair to say a lot has changed over the many years I spent as managing editor, and then in a host of other editing and reporting roles. We converted to a morning paper and a tabloid, added Saturday and Sunday editions, went free at news racks and added an on-line product in response to the emergence of something called the Internet. The Post merged with, or more to the point was acquired by, the company that owned the upstart Glenwood Independent newspaper ” contrary to my expectations that the Post’s owner would be the one doing the buying.
Over the years we went from cutting out columns of news, running them through a waxer and pasting up black-and-white pages by hand, to running color throughout the paper, laying out pages entirely on computers and sending them electronically to a modern printing press in Gypsum.
When I watched the old Glenwood Post press being unceremoniously trucked off our premises piece by piece, I paused and pondered how many editions, how much news, how many stories of heartache and happiness and everything in between had printed by that press over the decades. I thought also of the challenges and rewards that had been involved in getting out editions over all those years, and what an opportunity and honor it has been to be involved in local journalism in this beautiful and vibrant valley.
Sometimes I imagined I would spend the rest of my career here. Why not? The Glenwood area is an incredible place to live and work, the paper always had treated me well and nothing ever came along to lure me away.
Not until several weeks ago, that is, when the Daily Sentinel in Grand Junction asked me if I wanted to become its regional reporter covering Garfield County, and heading up its coverage of the increasingly important energy beat.
The opportunity seems to good to pass up, and so I closed the door on my 18-1/2-year career here on Friday and will begin a new job on Monday.
But my departure is tinged with sadness because I’ll no longer be involved in putting out the Post Independent for its readers, many of whom I’ve come to know well over the years. And of course I’ll miss the many colorful characters who make up the newspaper’s staff, and especially its newsroom.
I’ve seen dozens of people join and leave that newsroom over two decades, and now it’s my turn to go. But it’s been assuring over the years to see that while the characters may change in the newsroom, its ability to put out a quality product never wanes. The paper always gets out, and a committed newsroom continues to do its best to cover Garfield County, as it has for more than 100 years.
I’ll never forget certain things about my time here at the Post Independent, such as covering the tragic deaths of 14 firefighters on Storm King Mountain in 1994. Other things, thankfully, I’ve managed to forget, such as the all-too-many errors I’ve made that caused me to want to crawl into a hole and hide when they appeared in print.
I’ll also look back with pride at some of the hundreds of editorials I’ve written over the years. As for some others, I have to agree with you for having asked yourselves, “What was he thinking?”
One great thing about this line of work is that there’s always another edition the next day that provides the chance to do things better. There also is no resting on laurels; no matter how great a job you might have done with one paper, news keeps happening and challenging you to do as well tomorrow.
For me, that challenge continues, albeit with a different newspaper. But while I’m bidding good-bye as a Post Independent writer, it’s not as if I’m ending my relationship with the paper altogether: I’ll remain one of its dedicated readers.
Departing Post Independent news editor Dennis Webb continues to look forward to his early-morning walk with his dog to pick up his Post Independent at the end of the driveway outside his home on Silt Mesa. Where, by the way, speaking as a customer, he’s quite happy with the job being done by the newspaper delivery person.
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Dear Readers who reside in Garfield County: It is time to stop using our inside voices when discussing Library District leadership.