Alison Berg: Thank you to this passionate community
I’ll never forget how happy I was the day I was offered my job as a journalist at Steamboat Pilot & Today. I was working as an intern at a national higher education news outlet in Washington, D.C., through an internship. While I loved D.C. and its thrilling, fast-paced news cycle, I was ecstatic for the opportunity to move to a beautiful mountain town in Colorado surrounded by an amazing team of talented journalists and passionate leaders.
The very first Steamboat Springs City Council meeting I covered was the city’s daylong budget retreat. I watched the whole thing, but by the end, I felt like I had no idea what just happened. As a young journalist coming straight out of college, I felt lost and frustrated, which led me to wonder if I really was the right person for the job. I called our city manager and finance director with a long list of what I imagined were very silly questions, and while they were very friendly and helpful, I was so worried about feeling like I had no idea what I was doing that I cried.
Over time, I started to feel like I understood things better. My questions were less frequent, my coverage was more in-depth, and I built relationships with community members.
After a year on the job, I now feel like I’ve really grown into the position, and I’m so grateful for the privilege I’ve had to tell the stories of our community. I’ve interviewed homeless people and second-home owners, I’ve reported on stories of tragedy that have broken my heart, and I’ve gotten to document people celebrating some of the happiest moments of their lives.
Steamboat is a unique community in many ways, and one of those ways is that everyone here truly cares about what’s going on in the community. In my year here, I’ve witnessed numerous City Council meetings where dozens of community members show up to talk about an issue that’s important to them. I’ve seen it with e-bikes, Triple Crown Sports and short-term rentals.
In covering some of these high-interest, more controversial topics, I feel like I’ve really become a part of the community. I’ve had multiple occasions where I’ve called someone for an interview, and they’ve complimented my work and told me I’m an asset to the community.
Journalism isn’t always popular. We recently had a president who called journalists the “enemy of the people,” tech companies and social media have spread misinformation and furthered divisions in our country and greedy hedge funds have bankrupted some of our country’s largest local papers, including our largest newspaper here in Colorado.
All of this, coupled with fewer people wanting to read a physical newspaper, has brought turmoil into this career field. But journalism, especially local journalism, is so vital to the health of a community.
As every journalist has, I’ve certainly faced my share of backlash over the past year. While this hasn’t always been easy to deal with, most people have been incredibly kind and supportive, and that makes this job incredibly rewarding.
It has been such a huge honor to serve this community by keeping our residents informed and working alongside a team of incredible journalists, led by a passionate, talented and empathetic editor.
This past year has been such a wonderful learning experience, and I can’t wait for what’s to come.
To reach Alison Berg, call 970-871-4229 or email aberg@SteamboatPilot.com.
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