From the editor: New video series focuses on people behind the bylines
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — A year or so ago, I was having a casual conversation in the newsroom with reporter Matt Stensland when he shared a story from his childhood. He told me he was 7 years old when his grandmother was shot and killed during a bank robbery in Fairview, South Dakota. Matt said he remembered the local newspaper running a front-page story about the robbery with a photo of his grandmother’s body being taken out of the bank in a body bag.
That image is one Matt said he’ll never forget, and it was one of the reasons he decided to major in journalism at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, eventually landing in Steamboat Springs as a photojournalist and a reporter who covers crime and courts.
I’m not sure what prompted our discussion — it’s one of hundreds I have each week with my reporters and copy editors as we talk about daily news stories, plan special sections or just casually interact with one another as we go about the business of gathering news.
When I have the opportunity to talk to groups about the Steamboat Pilot & Today and our news team, I often tell them I wish they could observe a day in the life of our newsroom, so they could see the reporters in action.
They’d witness how we make decisions about which stories to cover and how we work together as a team to flesh out those stories during our daily news meetings. Who should be interviewed? Can data from the story be converted into an informational graphic? Should we do video with a story, and what photo opportunities are there to illustrate the story we’re telling?
Each reporter, regardless of beat or experience, along with our copy editors and page designers, is an integral part of these discussions, and they play an important role in producing a daily newspaper.
Our teamwork is often best displayed when we are responding to a breaking news story. We have a reporter on the scene and maybe a photographer who is also shooting video, and they are sending information back to the newsroom, so that we can provide updates to our readers through our website and our social media platforms as the news story unfolds.
It’s always our goal to provide readers with accurate, timely information that is fair and objective. We take that responsibility seriously, and we know it’s a big part of how we fulfill our role as a trusted news source.
So circle back to Matt’s story about his grandmother’s death. When he retells it, you hear his passion for the journalism profession, and you begin to understand how he approaches photography, reporting and storytelling.
I think you’d also like to know how Sports Editor Joel Reichenberger became a master of the interview, establishing relationships with his sources and then getting them to share information and stories with him that get to the heart of the stories beyond game scores and athlete profiles.
And then there’s Tom Ross, a veteran reporter who understands the rich history of Routt County and offers context and perspective to all the stories he writes, and John Russell, a photographer who has developed a true gift for capturing compelling photos that grace the front page of our paper day after day.
Each member of our news team has their own story to tell, and its those stories that have inspired a new Steamboat Pilot & Today video series, “Behind the Byline,” which launches today and is aimed at giving our readers the opportunity to learn more about the people who produce the news stories, page designs, photographs and videos our audience engages with on a daily basis.
I think there’s value in our readers knowing what makes their local news professionals tick – why they became journalists, how they tackle tough stories and what it’s like to work at a daily newspaper serving a community like Steamboat Springs. Those stories are the foundation for the series, and it seemed fitting to launch it during Colorado Journalism Week.
These videos will be released every Friday and will feature different members of our team talking about themselves and their chosen profession. It’s my hope this series will offer an open, transparent and personal look at how your local journalists landed in Steamboat, how they approach making important news decisions and how their stories impact the local community.
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