Scott Stanford: Recruiting, teaching, saying goodbye

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I've always wondered why the University of Hawaii doesn't have one of the best football programs in the country year after year. How tough can it be to sell recruits on Honolulu?

I get that a lot from my peers in the newspaper business -- getting good journalists to come to Steamboat should be a snap. And I admit Steamboat's easier to sell than Kingsville, Texas.

But readers should know that landing a job in our newsroom isn't easy. We do nationwide searches and get 50 to 100 resumes for each opening.

Generally, because of the size of the newspaper, our hires are new to the business. All are college graduates, and most have had at least an internship with a daily newspaper.

We get lots of graduates of the University of Colorado. But we have hired from colleges across the country including the University of North Carolina, Auburn, Purdue, Nebraska, Michigan State, Iowa, Lehigh, Wisconsin, North Carolina State and William & Mary.

What people who come here quickly learn is that the job can be demanding. Working in the Pilot & Today newsroom means working lots of nights and weekends. There's not as much time for skiing as many imagine.

But the hard work pays off. A great part of my job is watching reporters and editors improve and take the next steps in their careers. A quick update on some who have passed through our newsroom in the past five years:

Avi Salzman is writing for the New York Times. Gary Salazar is on the metro desk at The Albuquerque Journal. Melissa Hoppert is editing sports at the Baltimore Sun. Christine Metz is covering City Hall for the Bend (Ore.) Bulletin. Former City Editor Melissa Roddy is on the metro desk at the Wilmington (Del.) News Journal. Autumn Phillips is the editor of our sister newspaper, the Payson (Ariz.) Roundup. Danie Harrelson covers the Legislature for the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. And Doug Crowl is a reporter for the Longmont Daily Times-Call.

Former education reporter Brent Boyer is our city editor, and former copy editor Meg Wortman is our news editor, overseeing our team of night copy editors.

One of the reasons I chose this topic is that our newsroom has seen more personnel changes in the past six months than it has in any year since 2001, my first year at the newspaper. We've spent a lot of time and effort recruiting reporters to Steamboat in the past year, and I wanted to make sure you know who they are.

Those reporters and their beats are Alexis DeLaCruz, police, courts and South Routt; Dana Strongin, city and county government; Mike Lawrence, education and politics; Matt Stens--land, Hay--den and real estate; and Allison Plean, arts and entertainment.

Of course, most readers know veteran reporters Tom Ross and John Russell and veteran photographer Tyler Arroyo. All have been with the newspaper for more than 15 years, and they are key to our credibility and institutional knowledge. And John would be the first to acknowledge how important it has been for him to have Melinda Mawdsley alongside him in our sports department for the past four years.

Sorry about the name-dropping, but I'm extremely proud of the our past and present journalists. They are evidence that good people make good newspapers.

From the Editor appears Thursdays in the Steamboat Today. Send questions to Scott Stanford at sstanford@steamboat pilot.com or call him at 871-4221.

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