From the editor: ‘The Record’ takes a break as we look to improve it | SteamboatToday.com
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From the editor: ‘The Record’ takes a break as we look to improve it

Some of y’all may have noticed the Steamboat Pilot & Today has not published “The Record,” a daily recap of law enforcement agencies’ call log, for about a week now.

Based on the half-dozen emails I’ve received since we started this practice, I’m sure many of our regular, longtime readers have noticed its absence.

It’s not a mistake or by accident. We are down one reporter right now as we look to fill out the newsroom staff, but my reasons for putting on The Record on hiatus come from larger concerns I’ve been wrestling with since moving to Steamboat Springs.



I think it’s important to acknowledge that a good police blotter can be a great communication tool for police and for the public. With the police blotter, there’s an opportunity to inform the community, promote transparency and give residents an idea of some of the activity that’s happening in their neighborhoods.

In my mind, the goal of The Record should be to offer a brief but accurate glimpse into police work and the many different calls officers receive throughout the course of their days. I also can see a scenario where an entry in the blotter sparks a resident who might have seen something to report it, and that’s where I think the greatest value is.



But I’m not sure that’s always been the case.

Sometimes, The Record has made light of serious situations. I also believe that reading these short entries — usually noting the nature of a call and the general address or location — have had a larger effect on the individuals involved in these incidents, causing them additional pain and suffering, without offering much context or details.

Working as a journalist for almost two decades, I believe there’s nuance and a gray area in most situations. Nothing is as cut and dry as it usually seems at face value, and there are always two sides to every story, if not more.

For me, it’s important this newspaper does not report on serious incidents haphazardly, and one of the reasons I put The Record on hold stems from complaints that entries have been taken out of context and portrayed incorrectly.

Beyond that, community members and law enforcement officers have told us residents are avoiding reporting criminal activity because they do not want their calls to appear in the blotter. The idea that citizens aren’t reporting crimes because of something the newspaper publishes has cost me a lot sleep.

Those are my biggest reasons for looking to redo The Record. I do not believe it will be gone forever, but I think it needs to take a break while we reevaluate how it can be of value to readers, law enforcement officers and the community in general without causing some of the problems that have been brought to our attention.

I don’t know how long it will take to revamp the police blotter, and I think there must be conversations with our local law enforcement leaders before we can bring The Record back in a format that addresses some of these concerns.

For our readers, I know The Record was a popular staple in this paper for many years. I did not remove it without deep consideration, and I hope we can bring it back soon, revamped, adjusted and as a service to Routt County.

Eli Pace

Eli Pace is the editor of the Steamboat Pilot & Today. Reach him at epace@steamboatpilot.com or 970-871-4221.


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