It’s New Year’s Day at The Sopris Sun office and I can’t think of a more auspicious time and place to reintroduce myself to the readers.
I don’t generally put a lot of stock in the calendar change. This year, though, Jan. 1 marks my first day as editor of Carbondale’s hometown newspaper, so I’m finding a lot more meaning in the date than usual. It’s a time for both reflection and new possibilities.
Our office here at the Third Street Center was my fifth grade classroom back when this was Carbondale Elementary. We’re moving down the hall soon, but the whole building is saturated with good memories. It’s a wonderful feeling to have while taking on a new and challenging role, and I plan to draw deeply on those roots going forward. I also have the benefit of an extremely experienced staff — including production designer Terri Richie and photographer Jane Bachrach, both of whom have been with the paper almost since its inception. I’m sad to be just missing Collin Laird, the last remaining original board member, but I’m extremely thankful for all he’s done.
For those of you who already love what we do, don’t panic. I’m still learning the ropes and settling in, and though I have a few resolutions for the paper, I’m not interested in immediate, drastic change.
Luckily, January is typically a light month for newspapering, so it’s an excellent time to try new things. As I’ve said before, I think a big part of our job is to introduce the community to itself, and I have a few ideas of how to do that. We’ll see what sticks.
In any case, we’re lucky to have The Sun at all. Beyond the standard significance of the date, it’s also the eighth anniversary of the day Carbondale woke up without a newspaper.
By the time I was born, my mother had moved on from the Valley Journal, but I grew up in and out of their office, and remember looking up to people who are now my coworkers. I have plenty of role models in the likes of Lynn Burton, John Colson, Pat Noel, Trina Ortega and John Stroud. When the Journal put out its last issue on Christmas 2008, I was stunned. It was hard to conceive of our town without a newspaper.
Apparently, I wasn’t the only one that felt that way. While the tongue-in-cheek “Valley Jurinal” circulated around town in January, folks were already talking about doing something more formal. It was six weeks of winter before The Sun rose.
By dint of my youth and a little journalistic experience from my year as editor of the Roaring Fork Rampage, I was put in charge of the website and later served as a board member. While exploring potential paths at college, I began getting an accidental primer in journalism. It’s possible I would have steered away from the supposedly dying world of newspapers without The Sun, and would now be putting my degree to work on an archaeological site somewhere in the southwest.
Instead, the paper endured the lean years of the recession, and while it was never in a position to provide me a full time job, it left me halfway prepared when one opened up in Glenwood. In three years at the Post Independent, I’ve had a chance to hone my skills. Now, I’m looking forward to covering my own place and people.
It’s good to be home.
Will Grandbois is the new editor of the Sopris Sun. He can be reached at 510-3003 or firstname.lastname@example.org.