Editor’s Notes: 2 new staff members join Tahoe Daily Tribune
Regular readers of the Tribune have likely noticed at least one new name in its pages and online. I write “at least one” because we’re fortunate to have two new journalists here in the newsroom.
Bill Rozak, our new sports editor, is already filling up the paper with coverage of our local athletic teams. (Somehow it’s already September.)
And on the digital side of things, Emily Kaiser has joined on as the online engagement editor — a new position — for the Tribune and our sister publications on the opposite end of the lake: the Sierra Sun and North Lake Tahoe Bonanza.
You’ll have an opportunity to learn more about Bill and Emily in the form of a Q&A that will appear in the next week. Putting aside personal details for now, each one has made an impact since officially starting on Aug. 21.
Shortly after I joined the Tribune, some parents reached out to voice their anger over the perceived elimination of sports coverage. In reality our long-time sports editor at the time left to pursue a different career and we were facing challenges in finding a suitable replacement.
The explanation at the time did little to assuage the anger felt by those parents who thought their kid was getting screwed out of deserved recognition. Intentions mattered little.
Despite the anger and confusion at the time, we maintained our intent to continue covering our local athletic teams the best we could.
Now with Bill on board, I know we will follow through not only on that intent but our desire to ramp up coverage of recreation as well.
Already we’ve seen robust reporting on our high school and college student athletes. And I know once he’s settled in, Bill — who pretty much loves doing anything that involves being outdoors — will be bringing new light to the activities and people who make Tahoe a renowned recreation destination.
Another point community members made early on in my tenure was the need to improve our presence online. People wanted breaking news. They wanted to see new stories when they visited http://www.tahoedailytribune.com.
We have made strong strides in that effort, and with Emily on board I know we will only get better. Along with creating high-caliber content (if you watched the videos of Martin Hollay and of the Nibouar family then you know what I’m talking about), Emily will help the rest of us in the newsroom deliver stories on the platforms you’re using.
During her second week on the job, Emily messaged me to ask why I wasn’t answering my phone. It was a little after 9 p.m. and I was unaware she had been trying to call me. It turned out she had just left the scene of a hit-and-run in Zephyr Cove.
This after putting in what I’m estimating was a 12 hour day.
She could have just drove by and went home. But she stopped, found out what happened and relayed that information to our online readers. Need I write more?
In a previous column, I touched on how it can be easy to take living in a beautiful place like Tahoe for granted. The mountains never become less spectacular, but they fall into the background more easily with time. On a fairly frequent basis, I catch myself heading into a similar mindset with the Tribune.
More days than not, the people in this office walk in with a smile on their face — they’re happy to come to work.
I don’t want to spoil the popular notion of media organizations being cheery places, but there are newsrooms where this is not the case.
There are places where hardworking reporters and editors do their job despite the fear of being included in the next round of layoffs.
In other places, there are people who, rather than adapt, use every opportunity to voice their contempt toward the tectonic shifts in the media and publishing world — they are the perpetual complainers and they’re not only cancerous, they’re also a major drag.
And in newsrooms across America, there are talented journalists asking themselves how much longer can they handle the deafening demands of a constantly growing workload.
Make no mistake, we have our moments and our days here at the Tribune. There is anxiety and pressure. There are arguments. Mistakes are made.
There are plenty of days when my vocabulary largely reverts to a select few four-letter words, and as anyone in the newsroom will tell you, I can sigh with the best of them.
Those days, though, do not diminish my feelings toward my workplace. I look forward to coming to work because I, like most journalists, love what I do, and because I thoroughly enjoy being around the people I work with.
As cliché as it might be, I genuinely feel that the Tribune is a sort of family. And it’s pretty damn exciting to have two new people join that family. I hope you’ll extend a warm welcome to both of them.
Ryan Hoffman is editor at the Tahoe Daily Tribune. He can be reached at 530-542-8006 or firstname.lastname@example.org.