Q&A with the new Tahoe Daily Tribune editor
November 26, 2016
Ryan Hoffman officially joined the team here at the Tahoe Daily Tribune this past Monday.
Hoffman, who previously served as editor of The Citizen Telegram weekly newspaper in Rifle, Colorado, is the new managing editor here at the Tribune.
We asked him a series of questions to help the community learn a little bit more about him. However, Hoffman encourages people to learn more about him on a more personal level by calling 530-542-8006, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or stopping by the Tribune office in the Tahoe Mountain Lab, located at 3079 Harrison Ave.
Why did you become journalist?
The short answer is: because I enjoy learning and the excitement of jumping into something new everyday. One day you might be at the scene of a fire, the next you could be sitting in someone's living room listening to very personal stories.
The longer answer is: I initially enrolled in college at the University of Cincinnati thinking I would be a physical therapist. A year of anatomy classes made me think otherwise. Toward the end of my freshman year I decided to take an intro to journalism course. At the time I was reading a fair amount of Hunter S. Thompson, and I thought "I can do this." It was not very long after making my way down to the college newspaper and volunteering to write that I learned journalism is much more than getting loaded and reporting on the insanity that ensues, which was the picture I constructed through reading HST.
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Luckily, the profession I started getting a taste of was even more pleasurable than the juvenile version I had constructed. Within a year of volunteering at the student-run paper at UC I advanced from one of the most prolific reporters (in terms of volume of work) to the position of news editor, which I held for two years up until graduating. I never looked back.
What excites you about the Tahoe Daily Tribune?
The enormous potential. Like many businesses thought of as legacy media, there's been some turnover at the Trib. This is a pretty common occurrence, in my experience. The newspaper that afforded me my first job out of college, a place with a staff size of three reporters, had at least five different reporters over the course of a year. I was only there eight months before moving on to bigger, better things.
However, if there has been one observation from my first week here, it's that there is a highly talented team in place. From our publisher, Rob Galloway, to the reporters on the editorial side, this is a team that wants to grow and get better each day. Regardless of what industry you work in, I'm a firm believer that you should have a larger understanding of your industry, especially if you want to advance. As a student of the media and media history, complacency among some traditional newspapers helped make the tectonic shifts in the news business more painful for some.
Being part of a team that is not afraid to try new things is incredibly exciting. Look for some of those new efforts in the coming weeks.
What is the best thing about being an editor?
The best thing about being an editor in a smaller market is that you get to execute the traditional responsibilities of an editor, such as editing and forming the paper's coverage goals, while also having enough time to write. After all, reporting and writing are what I love most about this job.
In discussing the possibility of becoming an editor with one of my previous bosses, I shared some hesitancy. I did not want a job where I was confined to an office reading other people's work all day.
This job allows me to get out and do what drew me to the profession. Also, I believe it's crucial for the editor and every person who holds a leadership position to invest in the community, whether that's attending events or participating in community activities. This was something I did at my previous job and it's something I'll continue now that I'm here on the South Shore.
Where did you come from?
Originally from a suburb of Cincinnati, Ohio. Like many people who grow up in Cincinnati, I never really envisioned leaving. Despite being a large area, the joke in Cincy is that people do not ask you where you went to college — they ask you where you went to high school. People don't leave.
But after graduating from college and going through a long interview process that ended in disappointment, I decided to apply for newspaper jobs around the country. A couple of weeks later, I received a call from the managing editor of the newspaper in Salida, Colorado. Despite not knowing a single person there and having only traveled west of Chicago once in my life, I decided to go for it. In hindsight, it was one of the greatest decisions I've ever made.
About eight months after taking that job, I moved to Rifle, Colorado, a city of around 10,000 people located about three hours west of Denver down Interstate 70.
My time in Rifle is the reason why I frequently wear cowboy boots, and why I have a cowboy hat on top of a BB gun in my office at the Trib. The boots and hat were initially a joke. I bought them just before a short trip back to Cincinnati to see family. I thought it would be funny if I walked out of the airport dressed like a cowboy. While I found that hat to be clunky and uncomfortable, the boots were some of the most comfortable footwear I'd ever worn. I still frequently wear them, when weather permits (they don't do well in the snow).
The BB gun was a parting gift from a friend and former coworker. He stated that my previous boss would not let him buy me an actual gun, so the BB gun was the best he could do for a guy who called Rifle home for about 19 months.
What do you do for fun?
Work, work, work. Just kidding, I'm actually looking forward to not working until 9 p.m. four nights a week, which was pretty much my life before coming here. I enjoy hiking when the weather is nice. I'm looking forward to putting some more miles on my snowshoes this winter. When summer returns, I'll definitely be looking to get out on the lake. I'm dying to try my luck on a stand-up paddle board.
Probably the single question I've heard the most during this transition is: Do you ski/snowboard?
The answer: no.
I tried my luck at skiing one time a couple of months after moving to Colorado. Despite getting a deal on gear because a friend of a friend worked in the ski shop, it still cost a good amount of money, at least in terms of my meager newspaper salary. And, I spent most of the day on just about every body part other than my feet. When I could barely turn my neck the next day, I concluded that paying a bunch of money to get my butt kicked was ludicrous. However, I'm willing to try it again, although I'll definitely be taking a lesson.