Summit Daily staff members reflect on Colorado Journalism Week | SummitDaily.com

Summit Daily staff members reflect on Colorado Journalism Week

Ink in our veins

With the proclamation of Colorado Journalism Week, the Summit Daily staff has been thinking about why we each got into this industry and what we do for our communities. As a team, we strive to provide you, our readers, with the best, most well-rounded coverage we can. Whether we are covering our state officials or a high school football game, it matters.

Individually, we all started somewhere and for varying reasons have found our way to this newsroom in Summit County. Over the next few days, we'd like to share our stories with you and we hope you will do the same. Check our opinion page daily to see stories from our reporters, editors and readers about what journalism means.

Personally, ink has been in my blood for generations. My grandpa on my mom's side — an eighth-grade drop-out — started his own photo engraving business in Denver. My great uncle was one of the first publishers of the Jackson County Star out of Walden, Colorado, and my grandpa on my dad's side has been a newsman and educator all his life, including working as the editor/publisher of the Belton Star Herald in Belton, Missouri.

Still, journalism was never set in stone for me — I've always just wanted to do something good for my community, and Summit has always felt like home.

Getting to be here and tell your stories feels like a realization of that life goal. I've worked on everything from historical pieces to summer league baseball and in each story it is the people that make the difference. The people here are more active than any place I can imagine, and it's a blast to ride your coattails, share your stories and feel like, in some way, I've contributed to this community.

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With that in mind, please let us know how journalism has affected your life. We will be running pieces from our staff and readers throughout the week, so if you'd like to include your story, email your comments to Heather Jarvis, our digital engagement editor, at hjarvis@summitdaily.com. If you have story ideas down the road or want to grab a cup of coffee email me at sgilmore@summitdaily.com.

—Susan Gilmore, assistant editor

'This person existed'

Community journalism has always been a passion of mine because I love telling stories. My writing career has mainly focused on the arts and entertainment beat, and I've always loved the idea of being able to listen to the story of one individual, and bring that to life on paper. This person existed; they are doing something important, and their story will now forever live in history in that edition of their local newspaper.

When I moved to Summit County in 2010, I fell in love with the mountains, the lifestyle and especially the people. Community journalism all of a sudden had a new meaning after finding my home, a place where I truly felt like I belonged. It's an honor and a privilege to be able to share the stories of our community. As A&E editor, I've written about a woman in the middle of a hike from the southern tip of South America to Alaska, a beloved longtime local who used cannabis oil to fight leukemia, and a couple who owns a 150-year-old bed and breakfast in Breckenridge.

Now, as digital engagement editor, I am incredibly excited to be a part of the future of journalism as we actively work to engage with readers online and reach an even larger audience than print allows. The industry is constantly coming up with new and exciting ways to tell stories and bring them to life online with interactive maps, 360-degree videos and more, and I am passionate about being on the forefront of these technologies for the Summit Daily. I love the challenge of taking an idea for a digital element, and then figuring out the technology behind bringing it to fruition.

And I still really want to hear your story — reach out to me anytime at hjarvis@summitdaily.com.

—Heather Jarvis, digital engagement editor

Connecting through written word

For as long as I can remember, writing has been a passion of mine — from language arts class in elementary school and being on my high school newspaper staff to declaring my technical writing degree in my undergraduate studies at James Madison University and having numerous 'pen pals' in my adult life. Unlike most of my Summit Daily cohorts, it wasn't a journalism degree that brought me to this job, but a fascination with the art of writing. There is no end to what one can create with a combination of words, and with any given sequence, the addition of punctuation, tone, voice, diction and style. And, that pure, creative intention in itself is truly amazing.

With those elements one has the power to really resonate with their audience — to leave an impact on a person's day. That possibility of striking a chord for another Summit County local has always inspired my writing. Though I have stuck to arts and entertainment features and outdoor columns (mostly), I have tried to touch on deeper meanings and make connections with those in my community, whether I hear from readers, or not. Though, I have always found great pleasure in hearing from those of you in the area.

The coolest takeaway from community journalism and mountain newspapers is the "we-are-all-in-this-together" spirit — after all, everyone simultaneously feels the pain of heinous traffic during tourism season and the lack of decent snowfall — and the dedication to telling the tales of the larger-than-life people who make this place as special as it is.

Through my involvment in our newspaper, I have met head-on the challenges our community faces, seen the strides Summit has made toward betterment and heard the collective voice — no matter what side of a local issue it comes from. I know just how much our locals care, and it's an honor and duty to give that amount of commitment back to the community.

—Caroline Lewis, copy editor