Daily, Trail all one big happy family now
After fighting over advertising marketshare and readership for years, The Vail Trail and The Vail Daily are one big happy family now that they are under the same roof.
Following the sale of the Trail to the Daily’s parent company, Colorado Mountain News Media, in February, along with the subsequent move of the Trail’s office and five of its six remaining staff members to the Daily building in Eagle-Vail, old, bitter rivalries have since melted away and a newfound sense of professional camaraderie has emerged.
“Hey Rogers, nice column today. I almost made it past the first paragraph,” said Trail Editor Tom Boyd to Daily Editor Don Rogers at the break room coffee machine Wednesday morning. “I’m sure you’ll get a lot of nice feedback.”
“Thanks,” Rogers said. “You know I’ve really been enjoying your fish stories lately. I think that’s a really good route to go to attract readers back to the Trail.”
“Yeah,” Boyd said. “Want any sugar?”
While there was an outpouring of concern from the surrounding community about the lack of an independent editorial voice, now that CMNM owns both Vail newspapers along with the weekly Eagle Valley Enterprise out of Eagle and Gypsum, Trail employees didn’t seem too concerned about working for the more corporate press.
“As an independent, we were allowed to be more vocal and take a bolder stance on things that we felt strongly opposed to,” said Trail cartoonist Don Sidle. “We won’t have as much free editorial reign anymore under CMNM, which is somewhat saddening. But, at least we have a good dental plan now. I get two free cleanings a year.”
Both newspapers have pledged in editorials to their readers to maintain their respective niches in the community, with the Daily being the more conservative voice as opposed to the Trail’s liberal stance, but that doesn’t mean that employees from both staffs haven’t found time to get acquainted and engage in healthy news-related dialogues.
“Your story on the town council meeting was a real piece of crap, Vero,” said Boyd to Daily reporter Veronica Whitney in the community break room Tuesday.
“I’m glad to know you feel that way,” Whitney said. “Have I ever told you how much I love all of your stories about how good of a skier you are. I also loved your column about your top ten favorite albums of all time where you listed Miles Davis’ ‘Kind of Blue’ as ‘Some Kind of Blue.’ That was brilliant.”
Before the sale of the Trail, employees from both papers had sparse contact with one another, other than the occasional conversation at a town council meeting or a run-in at the court house while covering the Kobe Bryant trial. Now, with their newsrooms located across the hall from one another, writers, editors, ad-reps and graphic designers have the opportunity to meet one another and comment on each other’s work.
“Must be real tough having to put out a 30-page paper once a week,” said Daily City Editor Matt Zalaznick to Trail Production Manager Amanda Swanson, Tuesday, at the water fountain. “What do you do the rest of the time? Whine about how small your new office is?”
“Yeah, with only five of us full-time, we do a lot of sitting around,” Swanson said. “We actually love working up here in Eagle-Vail. The office is actually really spacious and it has great windows. I personally love the great view of Paddy’s and the new car wash across the street.”
Employees who have worked for both papers during their tenure in Vail also commented that they liked the idea of reconnecting with old workmates.
“I never really liked anyone at the Trail I worked with. But, now that were all here under the same roof, I guess I have to pretend to like them again,” said copy desk editor Geraldine Haldner.
“We really missed Geraldine after she left,” said Trail photographer Dan Davis. “I’ve been meaning to call her all this time and get back in touch with her. It just so happened that this buy-out and the move gave us a reason to catch back up. I think it’s really neat.”