The Yampa Valley is at a crossroads. I’ve seen that clearly in my nearly three years at Steamboat Pilot & Today, reporting on the communities, the issues and the people that make this valley so special. The decisions that are made in the coming years will shape what this community looks like for decades to come.
Similarly, journalism is at a crossroads. I’ve heard that for years, as a student in journalism school, a reporter at one of the oldest college newspapers in the country the Minnesota Daily and now at the Pilot. I’m concerned about the future of community news, not only for my self-preservation but for the vital role it plays in our society.
The Pilot has experienced significant changes. The company that hired me no longer owns the paper and West Virginia-based Ogden Newspapers that bought it has brought lots of uncertainty from my perspective. The pandemic was tough on the industry in general, and the Pilot has not been immune to that. There have been cuts to ensure the paper is profitable as it tries to adapt and survive. In my view, this has shifted the focus from the community and towards the paper’s sustainability.
I don’t have access to all the inner workings of the paper. In my view, Publisher Bonnie Stewart has made several hard decisions to ensure the paper will keep operating long into the future. Editor Eli Pace is working hard after being put in an impossible situation of leading two newspapers, the Pilot and the Craig Press. I thank each of them for their support while at the paper.
I love the Pilot and the people there who make it work. I also disagree with some of the decisions that have been made. I have decided I can do better. April 22nd was my last day at the paper.
Today, I am starting something new: The Yampa Valley Bugle.
The Bugle, as I hope you will someday affectionally call it, is a locally owned, locally operated, online community news resource. It is owned and operated solely by me, Dylan Anderson.
I have a website, yampavalleybugle.com, where I will publish news stories written by me that cover a variety of topics that will keep you informed on the important issues of the Yampa Valley. I will write and deliver a newsletter to your inbox at least twice a week to start things off and hope to add to that as The Bugle grows.
I have registered The Bugle as a nonprofit with the State of Colorado and am working on getting nonprofit status with the IRS. The Bugle will be a news source that gives the amazing people of Routt County the community news they deserve. I’ll need your help to do that.
Community news needs to be centered in the community, it needs to be present in the community and it needs to be accountable to the community. I have worked hard to do all of those things during my time at the Pilot, and I’ll continue to work hard to do that at The Bugle.
While I am leaving the Pilot for several reasons, I will continue to be an avid reader of the nearly 140-year-old institution. You should too.
My now former colleagues at the paper — Shelby Reardon, John F. Russell, Tom Skulski, Kit Geary and Suzie Romig — are working hard every day to inform this community, and they are doing a great job. They are some of the best friends I could ever ask for, and I wish them and the paper overall the best.
My hope is that my breaking away from the paper will be a step that elevates the quality of journalism in the Yampa Valley. I hope that starting The Bugle will ensure that the community is informed by multiple news sources so that you can be a part of these crucial decisions that will shape Routt County’s future.
I am a true believer that the only way to combat bad speech is more speech. Similarly, the only way to inspire better journalism is more journalism. High-quality journalism that is a service to the community is my number one goal and it’s my promise to the community that has so warmly welcomed me here.
It’s a community that I have come to love. It’s a community that I want to serve. I’m ready for this new challenge, and I hope you will join me along the way.