John F. Russell: Making today’s news, writing Steamboat’s legacy |

John F. Russell: Making today’s news, writing Steamboat’s legacy

— A lot can happen in 25 years.

In 1998, I was on the sidelines as a group of girls from Steamboat Springs beat Palisade in a 3-2 shootout to earn a 3A state title. I was standing on the cold, hard-packed snow near Heber City, Utah, when the American Nordic combined team fell just short of bringing home an Olympic medal in 2002, and I was there eight years later when Johnny Spillane, Bill Demong, Todd Lodwick and Brett Camerota cashed in on their Olympic dreams.

All of these stories, and so many more, have filled the pages of the Steamboat Today, which will turn 25 later this summer. In the past few weeks, the staff of the Steamboat Today has been poring over old editions of the Today trying to identify landmark stories. It’s not an easy task.

When I came to Steamboat Springs in 1990, the Steamboat Today was a little less than a year old, and I was just out of college. Throughout the years, I’ve watched as the Steamboat Today has grown into one of the best newspapers in the state, and I feel like I have grown with it.

But as we attempt to locate the stories that have made the biggest headlines in the Today, I have come to realize that the newspaper is more than just a way of telling people what is happening in Steamboat Springs. It’s more than just headlines, more than just news stories and more than just photographs.

The great thing about the Today is that it reflects our community and what’s important. It’s funny, but some of the stories we were writing 25 years ago still are making headlines today. Parking, growth and affordable housing were making headlines when I started working in Steamboat, and they are still issues now.

As a sports reporter, I can tell you that the names of athletes may have changed throughout the years, but the headlines that fill the Today on a daily basis have remained unchanged. We still cover high school sports teams and their goal of bringing state titles to Steamboat, we still cover the athletes of the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club and their goal of making it to the Olympics and we still cover a wide range of other local athletes as they pursue their own goals.

The words and photos that fill the pages of our paper tell the story of our community. I’m not sure that as a reporter, I think about that every day, but as I look back on 24 years of work, I understand the importance of consistency, the importance of making sure we are on top of the stories that make Steamboat Springs, Steamboat.

Someday, I hope my contributions to our newspaper will become part of our town’s story. Until then, I will have a deep appreciation of what the paper means in our mountain town and how much I value the legacy the reporters, editors and photographers have left behind.

To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966

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