Autumn Phillips: Good luck, Stephanie. Have fun in the stacks. |

Autumn Phillips: Good luck, Stephanie. Have fun in the stacks.

By putting up four walls, an office becomes its own little world. And for the months or years that you work within those walls, that world is very real ” and rarely feels as temporary as it is.

When those walls contain a newsroom, you can be sure that the world inside will be loud and busy. It will be filled with the smell of another brewing pot of coffee, and the sound of ringing phones and clacking keyboards.

Our newsroom is open ” the desks aren’t separated into cubicles. So, we see each other every day, all day.

A news cycle is an emotional ride. And we go through it together. The excitement of finding out about something that’s going on. The stress as sources don’t call you back or refuse to comment. The stress of the clock as it approaches the first deadline of the day. And the relief of typing the final sentencing and announcing that the story is “in.”

That kind of daily adrenaline rush is what makes newspapers a life-long addiction for some and hell on earth for others.

This weekend, I attended the Colorado Press Convention in Denver. Hundreds of newspaper reporters, publishers and editors from across the state were there.

And as they walked into the lobby of The Brown Palace Hotel, I could pick the journalists out in the crowd ” bespectacled, pale, harried and just about the frumpiest bunch of dressers to clog any hotel lobby.

Looking at those worn out people, gesticulating passionately over cocktails about some obscure piece of legislation ” I realized why I must stay and she must go.

This world is not for everyone.

Last Monday, reporter Stephanie Miller walked into my office, closed the door and said, “Can we talk?”

That sentence means the same thing whether you hear it from the person you’re dating or from your employee.

It means, “This is over.”

And just as I would not throw myself around anyone’s ankles begging them to stay after they say, “Let’s talk,” I listened quietly to her reasons for leaving the newspaper and said, “I understand” and “Don’t feel bad” and “We’ll still be friends.”

But I was a little heart broken.

Stephanie Miller nee Buss has been a journalist in Grand County for almost three years. She started as the editor of the Winter Park Manifest when it was a weekly, and continued to cover the Fraser Valley as a reporter when we folded the Manifest into the Sky-Hi Daily News.

She cares about this community and, from what I can tell, this community cares about her.

Stephanie’s last day is Wednesday (tomorrow).

She has taken a job at the Fraser Public Library as its Adult Services Librarian.

We’ll miss her.

For the next three weeks, the newspaper will be a little short-staffed and could use any reader help to make sure the happenings of Winter Park and Fraser get coverage.

I hired a new reporter by the name of Katie Looby, who will step into Stephanie’s shoes on March 24.

Katie graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in journalism and has been working at the Township Times in Saginaw, Mich., since graduation.

She’s a skier and a mountain biker and I’ll think she’ll make a great addition to this newspaper and this community.

I know Stephanie Miller will be hard to replace, but I trust that you’ll welcome Katie with open arms.

Until then, please be extra generous with news tips and event photos as our staff struggles to put out a daily newspaper with one less reporter.

Keep in touch by e-mail at, by calling (970) 887-3334 ext. 19600 or stop by the Sky-Hi Daily News office any time at 424 E. Agate Ave. in Granby.

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