Editorials

A little change to spice things up

By Jody Hope Strogoff
THE COLORADO STATESMAN

This issue is our last for 2009, and we’ve intentionally kept it smaller than usual for a couple of reasons. First, there’s a little lull in the political world right now, which is fine with me. I think the holidays should be spent with family and friends — and maybe a glass of eggnog — rather than with the same old faces and standard fare at political events.

Plus, the chance to sit back, relax and gather a little perspective is always beneficial.

In truth, we wanted to take a little rest before everything heats up again in 2010, a true election year as distinguished from this past year, which was supposed to be a respite from all the electioneering, but which turned out to be chock full of candidates and campaigns all the same.

Remember when non-election years really were truly non-election years? When there was a little breathing room for a few months after November’s general election — when no one even even wanted to contemplate who might run for office two years from then? And when off-election years didn’t have such things as TABOR-related elections in the municipalities across the state?

That’s all changed.

With the advent of term limits in Colorado, it seems like officeholders have barely taken their oaths before speculation begins about their successors.

Some change is good, although I’ve never been a fan of term limits and miss the good ol’ days when longetivity in office didn’t necessarily mean our representatives were no longer effective.

Speaking of change, we’ve got a little news of our own that fits into this category, and I’m delighted to highlight it now. Last week veteran journalist Scot Kersgaard joined our staff as managing editor. It’s a new position at The Statesman, made possible, in part, because we’ve managed to have two record-breaking years in a row. Unlike some of the daily newspapers which relied on classified ads and a wobbly business model for much of their revenue in the past, we haven’t been struck as hard in the quickly changing world of print journalism. Our subscribers, thankfully, have stayed with us through our transition to more online coverage, and we’re going to be adding some new features to the paper in the coming year which will further augment our coverage of politics in Colorado.

That puts us in a growth mode, and if Gov. Ritter’s forecast about the state’s economy rings true, we should be primed to take advantage of the turn around. To do that, we’re going to need help.

That’s where Scot comes in. His involvement on the editorial side of the paper means they’ll be more hands on deck to make sure we’re able to key in on the issues and the people behind them.

With Scot working with our reporters and writers, it will enable me to spend more time on other facets of the newspaper which I’m excited about. I’m looking forward, for instance, to working more on marketing and making sure The Statesman is well positioned as a prime source of news for our politically sophisticated readers.

It will also allow me more time to attend political events around the state. I’m looking to former Sen. Wayne Allard and current Sen. Michael Bennet for inspiration. Both U.S. Senators managed to convene meetings in every county of the state during their time in office. In Allard’s case, the traveling senator fit in every county at least once during many of his years in office, and with Bennet, he gets an award for cramming in visits to every county in Colorado in less than a year from when he was appointed.

I don’t know if I’ll be able to complete my road trip in the time span of a year, but I’ll at least try.

As for Scot, you’ll likely see him around as well and I hope you’ll welcome him warmly.

Scot has more than 20 years of experience as a reporter and editor. His weekly column, “Extremely Wimpy,” appeared in The Rocky Mountain News sports section from 2003 to 2007, and he contributed travel and feature articles to the paper.

He also wrote regular columns and features for MSN’s Denver Sidewalk Web site.

Scot grew up in Eugene, Ore., and earned a bachelor’s degree in English at the University of Washington in Seattle.

He worked at The Wood River Journal in Sun Valley, Idaho, and at The Vail Trail in Vail before moving to Denver in 1990 to serve as press secretary in the Denver office of then-U.S. Sen. Tim Wirth.

Over the course of his career, Scot served on the editorial staffs of numerous trade publications, and, at one point, oversaw publication of eight technology and business magazines. He also has directed public relations operations for a large technology firm and a professional association.

Kersgaard’s pen has been employed by IBM, Ford, GE, StorageTek, Sun, and dozens of other business interests. His articles have been published in The Denver Post, The Denver Business Journal, The Washington Post, The San Francisco Chronicle, and The Portland Oregonian, among many other newspapers and magazines.

“I’m thrilled to be at The Statesman,” Scot said. “Newspapers and politics are both in my blood in a very big way.”

So, dear readers, I’ll leave you on that optiistic note from my new colleague.

I hope you all enjoy the tranquility and peacefulness of the holiday season. Enjoy it now, because in just a few weeks, the political world will again be abuzz.

Jody@coloradostatesman.com