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On the road again

Tamara Miller

Most of you missed a good time a few weeks ago. For the 10 people who did stop by Loaded Joe’s for the first edition of the Vail Daily Road Show on June 15, we hope you enjoyed your visit. We sure did, and not just for the half-priced drinks. It’s not every day we get a chance to sit down with readers and hear what’s on their minds. We really do care what you think, believe it or not. It seems like too often the public perceives newspapers as an impenetrable fortress, oblivious – and perhaps, unconcerned – with the thoughts and desires of the very community we cover. While we don’t pretend to pander to the whims of public opinion – nor should we – knowing what you want to see in the paper has an effect on our coverage. Reporters and editors troll the opinion page daily to get some sense of what’s important to our readers. Concerns about illegal immigration, open space and just plain-old development seem to be on your minds lately. We’ve had a lot of letters for and against the Vail Conference Center idea, and, of course, the requisite complaints about the Avon Post Office (though there was a complimentary letter recently). But the opinion page doesn’t tell us everything. Many of our letters to the editor come from a handful of regular writers, who frequently argue the same points or use the forum to argue with each other. We appreciate their input, but we need to hear from other people, too.That’s where you come in. We created the Road Show as a way to get in better touch with other readers. Because most readers don’t hang out at the Eagle County Building, we instead send a couple members of the Daily’s editorial staff to a local bar or coffee shop every two weeks or so. This Thursday, we take the Road Show to Harry’s Bump & Grind in Minturn. It’s a morning event, from 8:30 to 10 a.m., and all coffee drinks will be half off during the Road Show. Hosting this event will be Matt Zalaznick, the Daily’s city editor, who many of you know as the resident liberal columnist; and Cliff Thompson, who writes about business, land agencies, the environment and Minturn. Many of you know Thompson because he’s lived here forever. Bring your complaints or compliments, suggestions or sarcastic comments. Just don’t expect any speeches or PowerPoint presentations. The Road Show is anything but formal, and our main mission during that 90-minute period is to listen.Case in point: Most of the people we spoke with at Loaded Joe’s earlier this month said they are quite happy with the news coverage in the Daily, but they did have some suggestions. One person pointed out that she relies on the Vail Daily for local and state news, even though she felt our coverage of state issues is lacking. She wants to know more about how statewide issues affect residents locally, such as how much money Eagle County will get if the proposed state budget fix – Referendums C and D – passes in November. Last week, we ran a story that explained Eagle County would receive $23 million for improvements at Dowd Junction, Vail Pass and on Highway 81in the Roaring Fork Valley if both referendums pass. We plan to do more stories like that in the future.We also got some complaints about Tipsline, which most who commented said should be edited with more discretion. One person said our editorials should delve deeper into the issues we write about. We also got a comment from one person that we’ve had too much Eaton Ranch coverage.Not all suggestions will get an immediate response, and some may not prompt any change at all. It goes without saying, though, the more we know about what’s on your mind, the more we can be a newspaper you feel a need to read.Staff Writer Tamara Miller can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 607, or tmiller@vaildaily.com.Vail, Colorado


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