Dec. 15 marked my one-year anniversary as editor of the Washington Park Profile and Life on Capitol Hill newspapers.
I’ll admit I wish I knew the beat a little better than I do now - small things, like knowing the best places to park. But considering I didn’t even know what an RNO (Registered Neighborhood Organization) was just 13 months ago, I feel I’ve come a long way.
I’ve lived in the metro area for about 20 years and have always frequented Denver. But there’s nothing like getting to know a community as intimately as a reporter can.
Honestly, it has been a strange year to learn a new beat. COVID-19 has precluded covering most events, but through various phone interviews and courtesy photos, I’ve still had the privilege of getting to know some amazing people and learning about some really great organizations.
That boils down to why I’m a journalist in the first place: I love telling peoples’ stories. And I love being able to learn something new from every interview.
The awfulness of COVID-19 aside, in a way I feel a kinship with the Denver beat has formed in the light of the pandemic’s darkness. A togetherness created because we learned how to navigate these strange times, cope with the hardships and adapt to new lifestyles — together.
Something I will always remember emanated from the loyalty of readers. In my August column, I wrote about needing to put air in my tires and how difficult a task that had become during a national coin shortage. A number of readers from Life on Capitol Hill and Washington Park Profile coverage areas responded via email with tips and locations on where to get a free air check and top off my tires. It was so rewarding to read those emails - not only because with my car luck, I’ll likely be in need of the helpful advice someday while on the job, but also because of the response to sharing my personal experiences. Before the monthlies, I had never written personal columns, so until then, I wasn’t sure if anybody read the column, much less enjoyed it.
Within the first month or two of starting this position — pre-pandemic times — I had lunch at the former Tom’s Diner with a longtime Denver resident who was formerly involved with Life on Capitol Hill. We talked about future stories and she shared some insight on what readers might like. About midway through lunch, I witnessed some people come in specifically to pick up the newspaper’s latest edition at the restaurant’s rack location. I remember thinking how cool that I was the new editor of a newspaper that people enthusiastically read each month.
More recently, a Washington Park Profile reader emailed me to inquire about additional information about a story I wrote in the December edition. He happened to be a journalist himself - an editor for the former Rocky Mountain News. I got him the information he requested and we chitchatted about being a journalist for a while. Our conversation concluded with him saying: “You may not get rich, but it is a rich experience.”
And what a rich experience it has been.
In a few more years, I will celebrate a decade as a full-time journalist. Perhaps when that time comes, I will write a column that shares all those rich experiences with you.
But for now, a note of gratitude to all those I have interviewed in the past year and the experiences that were had - albeit socially distanced and/or virtual.
And to the wonderful readers.
You are why we do this.
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