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Lessons from our readers

Don Rogers

The upshot, as we understood the at-times conflicting impressions of the paper, was we need to be more positive and solution-oriented in our coverage as well as probing deeper, asking tougher questions, and being much more diligent about getting all the sides of the issues we cover.

And quit making so many dumb mistakes. Sheez.

We don’t pretend that small groups like this one alone give us a picture of general readership trends, like our annual surveys do. But nothing beats talking to individuals and small groups for specific impressions.

We have a sense of what we think we are doing, and how we hope we are coming across. Everyone is their own protagonist in carrying out their lives, too, and sometimes we might believe overly much in our own perspective. That bucket of cold water every now and again is a good thing all by itself. In addition, the ideas that come from readers panels can be great.

Similar discussions with readers back in summer 2000 inspired our weekly Vail by Mail that we send out to interested second-home owners and frequent visitors, improving our community calendar, widening the scope of arts and entertainment coverage, paying more attention to community news, and making our commentary section truly local while taking on the more controversial issues.

This panel already has given us some good ideas, as well as useful criticism.

The common thread we’re taking from this week’s session falls to the reporting. We may think we’re asking the right questions, choosing the right issues to probe deeper while of necessity covering others in more cursory fashion – but that isn’t necessarily coming across, and our execution is not nearly sharp enough consistently enough.

Part of the lesson is that it’s more than what we cover; it’s also how we cover our communities.

So we are indebted to Rick Dunford, Howard Leavitt, Steve Rosenthal, Ghiqui Hoffmann, Elizabeth Eber, Andy Littman and his teen-age daughters Juli and Laura, Paul Witt, Ali Mayer and Annah Scully.

Give us a call or send us an e-mail if you are interested in joining a future session. The number is 949-0555, ext. 600, ask for Don Rogers; or send an e-mail to editor@vaildaily.com.

The big 4-0

Don’t forget that Vail’s Founders Day events are coming to a head this weekend. Sunday is the big day, at least as far as the history goes. Vail’s first season began Dec. 15, 1962, with about 40 paying customers. The mountain will celebrate its 40th year with a lot more revelers than that. It’s be a good day on the mountain. D.R.


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