Trusted local news leader for Williams AZ and the Grand Canyon
Sun, July 25

Bottomless possibilities of Canyon exciting to new editor<br>

In my first short week at the Grand Canyon News, I learned that like the canyon itself, news doesn’t exist on a small scale here. With every person I’ve met, and every lead I’ve picked up, I’m realizing that even the smallest things have big implications and ideas carry weight of national and sometimes international proportions.

The proximity of the canyon may have something to do with it — it’s so big and amazing that initial impression wasn’t one of awe. My first thought was that it just didn’t look real, but seemed to belong in the context of other unreal images from movies and TV — just too fantastic to be believed.

As a sight-seer, I might have had to leave it at that, but living here, I have the luxury of going back again and again. I can take my time, as I did on my second visit to the canyon’s edge, listening to the rushing wind that sounds so much like the ocean — being from Massachusetts, it’s a sound I know and love — and watching the ravens launch themselves into it, spreading their wings and taking it like a gift.

But if there’s one thing I’ve learned in my 22 years of newspapering, it’s that this business is first and foremost about the people — how they live and work and play, and about the events and decisions that affect their lives. The difference here, in the midst of everyday concerns like schools and traffic and trash removal and the myriad other issues that directly impact quality of life, is that there’s a sense of mission that I find as awe-inspiring and humbling as the physical surroundings. In this sometimes harsh and unforgiving landscape removed from many comforts and amenities, passion isn’t enough. The people who live and work here are also dedicated to the tremendous physical and emotional commitment required to deliver and to do so when efforts can seem insignificant in the shadow of the canyon’s vastness and timelessness.

In terms of population, the Grand Canyon community is the smallest I’ve ever covered, but in terms of heart, it seems bottomless and boundless, intertwined in ways not found in your conventional community. I’ve had some experience covering small communities directly influenced by government policy – I started my career in journalism at a small Army base in Germany, where I spent six years writing about soldiers and their families – but this is different. In the Army, you go where you’re sent. Here at the Grand Canyon, people come by choice and with joy for the once-in-a-lifetime experience of living, working and making a difference in one of the most magnificent spots on earth.

When I interviewed for this job, I was told it required something of a pioneer spirit. I like to think I have it — why else would I have moved from New England to Arizona two months ago without so much as an advance fact-finding mission? If I do, I can only measure it in baby steps compared to the people who have given a big part of their lives living and working here. Fortunately, though the pioneer spirit is grounded in independence and a willingness to step into the unknown, it also finds root in community where people are willing to share what they know and offer what they have, especially with newcomers like me. That aspect has been evident to me from day one, in everyone I’ve met and spoken to so far.

My career in journalism has taken me to some interesting places, but never have I felt so privileged as I do with this latest assignment. I look forward to being a part of your community.

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