From the editor: The Pilot has connected our community for 135 years
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — I’ll never forget my job interview at the Steamboat Pilot & Today seven years ago. It was a two-day process, and I never imagined it would end in a job offer, because I’d applied on a whim.
My husband, Mike, and I had dreams of relocating to Colorado, but we were thinking of making that move in retirement. But as fate would have it, I was in the process of hiring at editor at one of our newspapers in Missouri, and when I posted the job on an online journalism jobs website, another editor’s position popped up right below mine. And that ad seemed to describe my dream job — serving as the editor of a daily newspaper in one of my favorite ski towns.
Former General Manager Scott Stanford called me for an initial phone interview, and if I remember correctly, he later told he had scheduled the call to be polite with the intention of letting me down easy. I’d spent two decades as a reporter, editor and publisher, so I had a strong journalism pedigree, but I hadn’t applied for a job in 15 years, and my resume was pretty old school. Scott and I ended up talking for close to two hours, and the next thing I knew, Mike was flying me to Steamboat for an in-person interview.
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We arrived the afternoon before I was to be interviewed, so I decided to do a little reconnaissance. I walked downtown and started asking people on the street about the Pilot & Today.
The responses I received were almost across-the-board positive. From locals, I heard, “we love our paper,” “my day wouldn’t be complete without picking up the Pilot” and “everybody reads it” — and from visitors, “can you believe it comes out every day, and it’s free?” and “I wish my hometown paper was like the Pilot.”
I saw people walking down Lincoln Avenue with a paper tucked under their arm or reading it at the bus stop or an outdoor table waiting for their meal to be served. It was an encouraging sign and signaled to me the Pilot had strong reach and loyalty within the community.
After an intense interview process that involved a meeting and interview with the entire news team, I was offered the job. I joined the Steamboat Pilot & Today as editor on July 13, 2013, and I’ve never looked back.
Preparing for this 135th anniversary special section, I realized I’m still just a newbie around here. The newspaper’s longevity and its role in chronicling the history of Steamboat Springs and Routt County is humbling. I am privileged to be guiding content for a newspaper that has stood the test of time and is still thriving despite the ever-present challenges faced by our industry.
One of the Pilot’s most enduring qualities is its strong tie to the community. The newspaper connects people by keeping them informed, whether that’s through coverage of city council and school board meetings, indepth reporting projects, sports events or our listing of “Happenings” around town.
And when it comes to people interacting with the content we create, engagement is high. We are lucky to serve a community that is opinionated, involved and cares passionately about this town — those are qualities that were present 135 years ago and remain strong today. That level of engagement keeps us on our toes, and we work hard to nurture that relationship through our storytelling, through the growing list of community events we host and through our commitment to seeking the truth and reporting it.
The Pilot’s history is marked by peaks and valleys, and the recent pandemic has tested us. But the Pilot crew remains strong, and we’re determined to keep this ship afloat.
And as difficult as the last four months have been, COVID-19 has served to reinforce the important role a community newspaper plays in keeping people informed and providing them with the information they need to navigate any crisis. Simply put, we are a vital piece of a healthy, functioning community, and we work hard to live up to that responsibility.
And finally, publishing a daily newspaper is a true team effort, and I want to close this column by thanking all the talented and dedicated people I’ve worked with over the past seven years and those who came before me, including the fierce Dee Richards, the Pilot’s first female editor. She set the bar high, and it’s an honor to follow in her footsteps and serve this community with passion and purpose.
To reach Lisa Schlichtman, call 970-871-4221, email lschlichtman@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @lschlichtman.
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Just like you, I live with the fear of wildfire. My southern Oregon town of Ashland nestles against the foothills of the Siskiyou Mountains, whose forests become tinder in our hot, dry summers.