It may be uncharacteristically warm so far this winter, but, looking back, 2017 was in many ways the year of ICE in the Gunnison Valley.
I’m talking about Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship. ICE is the buzzword right now, not just here but all over the country. Entrepreneurs are “in.”
Creating a new product or starting a business from scratch are exciting prospects. They can turn into great accomplishments. They can change the very characteristics that define a community.
I’d argue, however, that what is even more difficult, and more important, is sustaining a business.
And that’s exactly what we are doing at the Gunnison Country Times. We are not only carrying on a journalistic tradition, we are continuing a legacy of being an independent, small, locally-owned business whose roots go back to the very founding of this community.
Our quarterly Profit & Loss reports may not feature lines angling skyward like a ski slope. But we all know what’s on the other side of that peak.
I can report to you, the community that serves as my board of directors, that there is no cliff on the Times’ horizon. I am cautious but extremely confident that this train — however modest and unglamorous it may look to the “Shark” investors of the world — will continue its steady, methodical march down the tracks.
For that, I am extremely proud. And even more grateful.
The work of a newspaper is infinite. We aim to shine a light over essentially everything that’s happening in the Gunnison Valley; to illuminate life itself. This light should never extinguish.
Now, this obviously presents challenges. The workload can be immense. We have to be selective with our time and resources. Yes, sometimes we miss the mark — either devoting too much attention to a topic, or not enough.
But our fundamental objective is to accurately and fairly tell the ongoing story of this community. Ours truly is the first draft of history, and in a society that is prone to have an increasingly shrinking attention span and an impermanent relationship with information, ours may very well be the only draft of local history. What a responsibility.
But what an opportunity. How cool is it that we get to shine a light on an 11-year-old violinist who is gigging to raise money for a trip to Europe? Or that we get to tell the story of a couple’s dream of opening their own restaurant coming true?
Or that we get to share in a family’s joy when they welcome a new baby into the world? Or respectfully reflect on the accomplishments and contributions of one’s life as they pass from it?
How important is it that we hold public officials accountable, without practicing the “gotcha” journalism that’s crept into the mainstream media mentality over the years? How fun is it that we get to share in the victories of our sports teams, the success of our students and businesses, that we get to encourage in ways big and small positive change across the societal spectrum?
So our job is to tell Gunnison Valley’s story. It’s a powerful, colorful, sometimes complicated, occasionally controversial yet overwhelmingly positive story. We strive very hard to do our jobs well.
People, I love what I do. Despite the modest pay, the endless workload, the constant deadlines and the fact that people are typically more prone to complain than to compliment what they see in the media, there is nothing I’d rather do. This is more than a career. It’s a calling.
I believe our work matters, that it makes a difference in this community. I am immensely proud of our team, of what we do and the way we do it. And I am eternally grateful that I have the privilege of helping keep the light of community journalism burning brightly in this incredible mountain valley, with all of you.
Thank you to all of our readers and advertisers that make it all possible. And here’s to another great year in 2018.
(Chris Dickey can be reached at 970.641.1414 or firstname.lastname@example.org.)