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Rogers: Next adventure beckons

Don Rogers
Vail CO, Colorado

Early last summer, I told our neighbor Doug we expected to live here for the next 15 years.

Early last summer, I declined an invitation to apply for a publisher’s position at one of my company’s papers. I probably was a little smart-alecky about it, too. You couldn’t pay me enough for that job, or something like that.

Now I’m a few weeks from starting as publisher at one of my company’s papers near Lake Tahoe, and we plan to sell the house.

How did that happen? Good question. My wife and I are still asking ourselves the same thing. Never say never, I guess.

Yep, headed out. I begin Dec. 3 at the Record-Courier in Gardnerville, Nevada, a dozen miles south of Carson City and about Eagle to Beaver Creek from Lake Tahoe. My new paper has less than half the circulation and a fifth the revenue of the Vail Daily.

I’ll go from being a journalist with some management responsibilities to a manager with some journalism responsibilities. It’s not quite the jump from firefighting to journalism over 20 years ago. Still, this is a big career change.

The publisher runs the shop, frets about sales, and lives in stark fear of what the editor might do. The editor pretty much has all the fun, including that hallowed role of shooting the business in the foot every now and then, and terrorizing the publisher.

I’m pretty sure my publishers, former and current, are enjoying this moment. Ah, sweet revenge. May my editors all be at least as challenging as I was for my publishers.

This might be our family’s best move, or worst. The Tahoe area is about the only place we’d consider besides here. We keep access to the mountains and ski hills. Add on the big lake and proximity to the ocean; I’m buying that sailboat as soon as possible. Closer to family, longtime friends. It’s also near where I began my newspaper career about an hour north of Tahoe, in the sawmill Sierra.

We’re learning that leaving a place you love is tough, however sweet the siren’s call for a new adventure. Coming here from the San Diego area was easy. Eight years later, there are some claws in the carpet.

I have the best job in journalism, and we were able to raise our kids in the best place on Earth for that all-important task. This community is great. I can’t imagine finding a better one, frankly, and I’ve lived in quite a few across the country.

The hardest part is deciding to make this move while our daughter is still in high school. She’ll finish out her junior year at Eagle Valley, and then? She has a lot of options, though she’s not seeing them right now. College in California has been on her mind, though, and a strategic move across the border into that state would save a ton of tuition. If that’s how she goes. The timing isn’t perfect, but then it seldom is.

Our son in college thinks this is fine.

One more place to visit as he lives more and more on his own, the boy growing inevitably into a man.

I felt an era sunsetting here even before the job offer came along. Not that there’s any lack of challenge ahead for the Vail Daily. But certain signs have been creeping in the past year.

The most important might well be a news staff that increasingly has taken the day-to-day reins. Not so long ago I had a handful of deadline duties that others have taken. My last was the commentary section, which coming up on a year ago I handed off to Opinion Editor Tamara Miller.

When I began Nov. 2, 1999, I figured that changing the nameplate on page one would be the last improvement before moving on to the next great challenge. Well, that’s scheduled in early December, along with a full redesign of the Daily.

As transitions go, this one is clear. It’s a gift, too, actually. We’ve all come a long way in a short time ” paper, kids, community, all of it. Taking stock, I can see that outside of the daily ups and downs, we’ve all grown quite a bit.

This by far is the best, most interesting place where I’ve ever lived and worked. Thank you for all of that. Our love of our time here is more a reflection of the people than the scenery. If I weren’t such a sucker for the next mountain, I’d know better than to even consider leaving.

Don Rogers is responsible for the editorial oversight of the Vail Daily, Eagle Valley Enterprise and Vail Trail. He can be reached at 748-2920, or editor@vaildaily.com. Read his blog at http://www.vaildaily.com/section/BLOG.


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