From the Editor: Newspaper launches Steamboat Conversations
January 29, 2018
The Steamboat Pilot & Today team is always assessing its role in the community, and we firmly believe one of our main purposes is to serve as a conversation starter. It's our job to report the news and keep our audience informed about the issues facing the community, and we also look for new ways to create opportunities to engage with our readers on important topics.
As part of this mission, in 2018, we are expanding our community outreach by offering a quarterly event we're calling Steamboat Conversations, and we'll be holding our first one from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Steamboat Springs Community Center in collaboration with the city of Steamboat Springs and the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association.
The purpose of this first forum is to facilitate a healthy, productive discussion about the city's special events initiative — a community conversation that was sparked, in part, by Scott Franz's story, "Jampacked: Is Steamboat being loved too much?" that we published this summer. The article prompted vigorous online discussion and a large number of letters to the editor on the subject.
On Wednesday night, Chamber CEO Kara Stoller and Assistant City Manager Winnie DelliQuadri will open the evening by presenting information about the role of special events in our community and some of the initiatives the city and chamber are currently looking at to improve event management, planning and permitting.
And then, I will be facilitating a conversation on the topic. In particular, people will be asked to provide feedback on four key questions:
- What do you like about special events?
- What do you not like about special events?
- What are possible solutions that you see?
- What are your favorite events?
Those attending the forum will be divided into small groups to answer those questions and then will report back to the larger audience near the end of the session. It will be an evening where we listen and receive community input, and we invite our readers to attend.
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It's my hope that Steamboat Conversations provides a constructive forum for community dialogue on issues of importance and impact in Steamboat Springs and Routt County, and we plan to schedule future forums on different topics for April, July and October.
In order to help foster this ongoing discussion of important community issues, we've also created a new Steamboat Conversations Facebook page.
The purpose of this group is to create a place where community members can come together online to discuss community topics and offer feedback on how Steamboat Pilot & Today is covering those issues. This will be a two-way discussion between community members and newspaper staff, and we hope it will be a more productive forum than the conversations that often occur in the comments section of our website.
In this forum, varying social and political opinions will still be welcomed but respectful discussion is required, and we won't hesitate to remove people from the group if they are not acting considerately and attacking others. We invite you to join the group at facebook.com/groups/steamboatconversations/ and begin engaging with us in a more meaningful, less intimidating way.
Ultimately, we think this online forum will spark reporting ideas and topics for future Steamboat Conversations events.
For those who can't attend Wednesday night's forum, we invite you to send your feedback on the four questions we'll be asking to Kara Stoller at firstname.lastname@example.org, Winnie DelliQuadri at email@example.com or me at firstname.lastname@example.org.