Editor Column: Award winning coverage; less than stellar health | PostIndependent.com

Editor Column: Award winning coverage; less than stellar health

If you have not already heard the news, your little community newspaper did OK this past weekend at the award ceremony referenced in last week’s column.

Unfortunately, I was unable to be present at the award celebration on Saturday, but more on that later.

Without dwelling on the achievements too long — the work goes on — I’d be remiss if I did not mention a couple of thoughts on the awards.

First and foremost, I consider it a privilege to work for Randy Essex, editor at the Glenwood Springs Post Independent and my boss. Randy penned one of the three first-place winning stories that appeared in The Citizen Telegram.

To put it bluntly, Randy is the reason I am here. He recruited me to come here and run The CT a little more than a year ago.

After making that offer, it did not take me long to accept the position. He is a top-notch editor with a wealth of experiences and insight. And his leadership positions at large metropolitan daily newspapers did not blunt his deep understanding of the roles and importance of smaller community papers — a quality that constantly impresses and pushes me to do better.

I would feel fine questioning if some of the other award-winning content would have even happened under leadership of a lesser caliber.

On the design front, Emily Stott took home a second-place award. Nearly every week, Emily is responsible for the sleek layout and design work that appears throughout the paper. Bottom line: This paper would not look as good each week without Emily’s skillful touch and unwillingness to settle for mediocrity. Thank you, Emily.

As for the other awards, I don’t have much to say. All of the credit for the first-place feature story award goes to the story’s subject: Veronica Toscano-Santoyo. Veronica lived it, I was just fortunate to be able to tell the story.

As a middle-class suburbanite from Cincinnati, I never imagined writing about agriculture or winning an award for ag coverage. I cannot help but chuckle at that one.

And the second-place honor for the mutton busting photo is a testament to the notion that if you move around and take enough photos, you’ll walk away with at least a decent one.

While I downplayed these and awards in general last week, it was disappointing to be sleeping at home rather than in some ballroom hobnobbing with coworkers and peers. I was already questioning whether I would make the event last Thursday, a day before it started.

Thursday morning started much later than normal and with a burning throat, zero color, nausea, a feeling of exhaustion and aches throughout my body. I thought I was dying.

Several attempts to work failed miserably and the day was defined by more sleep. Friday faired much better and I hit the road to Lakewood, attended some of the events, checked into my room and grabbed a bite to eat. Aside from a slight feeling of fatigue, all seemed well.

However, Saturday morning felt more like Thursday than Friday, and after struggling to get out of bed for several hours, I looked in the mirror at my colorless complexion and tapped out.

An email and three-hour car drive later, I was passed out in my own bed, where I remained for the rest of the day.

The one detail I’ve left out — call it a side effect — is the bouts of irrational panic. While the mention of “dying” sounds, and in hindsight was, hyperbolic, at the time I was genuinely concerned that something serious might be wrong.

With the exception of the occasional cold, I rarely find myself filling that ill. Even more rare was the fact that for three consecutive days I was not out of bed before 7 a.m. (my usual wake-up during the week is around 5:30 a.m.).

Long hours are all too familiar, especially in the middle of the week, but I cannot recall a situation where I struggled so mightily to get out of bed.

Compounding all of this is a fact that is embarrassing to confess, but I’ll do so anyways. It’s been roughly seven years since I had a regular checkup at the doctor’s office and I have not had a primary care physician since high school; thus the additional piece to the overall panic puzzle.

While this detail may confound some, and it certainly fed my anxiety, it should not come as a shock.

The International Business Times explored the subject in a 2015 article titled “Healthcare 2015: Why Millennials Avoid Seeing Doctors And What This Means For Rising Healthcare Costs.”

Among the data cited in the report was one survey that concluded Millennials are less likely than older generations to visit primary care physicians — opting instead for care delivery systems such as acute care clinics.

Cost concerns and a lack of understanding of health care were among the reasons driving Millennials’ health habits.

Personally, my own avoidance is largely due to the fact that I don’t think about it. I feel relatively healthy most of the time, and so the thought of carving out time to go see a doctor without a specific reason simply has not occurred.

However, that is no longer the case. Consider it open season for primary care suggestions. Unlike the article in IBT suggests, I will take the time to make the visit.

Ryan Hoffman is editor at The Citizen Telegram. You can reach him at 970-685-2103 or at rhoffman@citizentelegram.com.


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