Melissa Hampton: Our community, our voices
March 4, 2019
I just finished a five-month term as a community representative on the Editorial Board of The Steamboat Pilot & Today. As a fairly new resident in Steamboat Springs, I was excited to respond to the paper's call asking for community participation on the Editorial Board.
I saw this as a way to get to know my new town better, which indeed proved to be the case. We heard presentations on and discussed many issues: the 2018 ballot initiatives; the Colorado Department of Transportation; the Business Improvement District; our school system; west end development; and much more. It was great to have the opportunity to become a more informed citizen.
An unexpected bonus was getting to know the staff and discovering how receptive they are to input and feedback. My opinion — and that of my community colleague Mike Burns — was always taken seriously. Some of the issues we tackled were contentious, but we always had substantive discussions as well as the opportunity to proof and comment on the editorial before publication.
As a career journalist who finds herself in a national climate where my profession has come under siege, this openness is especially important to me. In my former jobs with PBS and NPR, I took research and fact finding seriously and always tried to get to the the heart of a story. Being in a town where the paper's editor, publisher and staff reporters are open to community feedback is a treasure and an antidote to the "fake news" that is now so rampant nationally.
Together, we can make sure that, at least, here, in this amazing community, we support a climate where journalists report real news and informed opinion.
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