Pace: Let’s raise the level of conversation locally
On the job, I once met a builder who relished working exclusively inside the county in which he lives. He doesn’t have to leave, he said, because he has more than enough work at home. Plus, he doesn’t like to drive.
I don’t think the Sky-Hi News really needs to venture much outside Grand County, either. There’s more than enough happening locally to keep us busy here, and while I haven’t been here long, I’ve already found a wealth of Grand stories to fill our pages.
Before coming into this role, when I first started thinking of applying for the editor’s job, I ran through dozens of editions, some as far back as January 2014. (Don’t believe me? Check out the e-edition at SkyHiNews.com and navigate to the archive; it’s a cool feature.)
Reading those old copies, I quickly noticed how fiercely local the newspaper has been. There was no Associated Press, stories from the sister papers were carried sparingly and only with a local nexus, and the newspaper remained squarely fixated on everything Grand.
I’ve worked in a handful of larger markets, not huge, but ones big enough to produced goldmines of hard news for a young journalist. Even then, those papers were always at their best when the staff was actively working to perform a community service, either by relaying information, producing educational pieces or promoting local conversations.
That said, I don’t want to change the paper’s focus at all. I feel like I’ve inherited an amazing paper, and my only hope is keep it local as we try to build on previous success and ratchet up our coverage.
More than anything, I want ensure we deliver honest, straight arrow reporting, but I also want to promote dialogue through our coverage and do so in a civil manner. I say that because I struggle to keep heart sometimes when the level of civility descends into the ugliness and venom that’s commonplace on cable TV news and in social media comments. There’s just so much negativity out there, and I don’t want to feed into it because that doesn’t help anyone.
We won’t shy away from the hard news, but I believe our brand at Sky-Hi is going to be good, responsible community coverage. More than anything, I want to produce a newspaper that’s chock full of local photos and community news. As editor, I’m going to try to make decisions that do that.
If I can make one request of our readers, it’s that you consider taking the same approach. Please, voice your opinions, be active citizens and help shape this county, but let’s do in a civil, positive way that builds rather than destroys. Ultimately, it will be your demands that will dictate not only the future for this newspaper, but for the county on the whole. Let’s do it right.
Eli Pace is the editor of the Sky-Hi News. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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