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Peterson: Never a dull moment

As journalists, we’re trained to report the news, not become part of it.

The story should never be about us. But what about when that day’s news is actually about us? You know, like today, when the Vail Daily officially turns 40.

Talk about agonizing editorial decisions.



Forgive us if we didn’t get a little bit excited when a string of small grass fires broke out Monday along the interstate to provide some real news for today’s edition so it wasn’t just all about us.

Then again, you only turn 40 once, and any legacy news operation hitting that milestone is cause for celebration. That’s especially true when you consider that nearly 2,000 newspapers around the country — about one of out every five — have closed since 2004.



Those numbers have only risen during the coronavirus pandemic at a time when Americans need trusted, local news sources more than ever.

So, as we hit the big 4-0, everyone in our newsroom is thankful to be doing the important work of delivering reliable reporting to you, our readers, and being smack in the middle of a community conversation going on 40 years.

We’d be lying, though, if we said it’s all serious work.

Are you kidding?

We certainly grind at the Vail Daily, but if there’s one string that runs through this whole thing, it’s all the fun we’ve had while doing the important work of covering the news.

That’s been true from the beginning when Jim Pavelich and Jon Van Housen launched their tiny one-sheet with $3,000 in tip money back in 1981 and never looked back.

My favorite meetings with staffers and community members are always the ones that happen on a chairlift while sneaking in some turns — or out and about around the valley, sipping something cold while soaking up some rays.

And, trust us, whenever we do take ourselves too seriously, this valley always puts things in perspective. These mountains, they’ll humble you.

It’s true: A newspaper is a daily miracle.

Despite power outages, blizzards, interstate closures, wildfires and a plethora of technical mishaps, the Vail Daily has managed to deliver the day’s news in its print edition for 40 straight years. That’s a streak of 14,611 days.

Despite some of the dysfunction that persists, despite our best attempts to corral it, we’re nothing if not dependable.

And while the work of a journalist has changed with the advent of the internet and the 24-7 news cycle, the basic principles of this job remain the same.

When people stop saying, “I read about in the Vail Daily,” then we’ll know we’re in trouble.

We’re here for all the news you need — whether it’s an alert on your phone about a road closure or an avalanche, or it’s a deeply reported investigative series that you read within the pages of that day’s print edition. And, now, you can also get your daily dose of news, weather, ski conditions and valley happenings from “Vail Daily Live,” our new streaming morning show that’s just about as exciting as the Daily launching 40 years ago.

Just know that we do it all for you, our loyal readers, who are always there to tell us when we get it right and when we can do better.

It’s an honor and a pleasure to edit the Vail Daily on its 40th birthday, and those of us who work in our building in EagleVail can’t wait to celebrate with you throughout the year as we tell some of the stories behind the big stories of the last four decades and continue to report the stories that matter to you, our readers.

Life begins at 40, or so we’ve heard, and we’re just getting warmed up.

Nate Peterson is the editor of the Vail Daily. Email him at npeterson@vaildaily.com.


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