Friday, June 14

The Crestone Eagle is a nonprofit monthly newspaper serving Crestone and the San Luis Valley

Letter from the Editor

By Matt Lit

Thirty seven years ago, in 1986, I first drove into the San Luis Valley from Northern New Mexico.

Fresh out of college, on my first professional job as a cub reporter “regional editor” for the Taos News, I passed Costilla and crossed into Colorado on my way to Alamosa to visit a friend.

Journalistically, under the—sometimes really tough— tutelage of Billie Blair I became a solid writer, editor and journalist. I thank her to this day for being so tough on me and what she brought into my entire professional life. 

Life would land me in Summit County in 1988 where I started as a photojournalist and writer, including freelance assignments for the Denver Post, the Rocky Mountain News, Associated Press and United Press International. After a brief stint in Israel for Black Star Agency I returned to Summit and went on to become a managing editor for a full-color magazine. I spun that skill into creating a graphic design and photography company and even created a nonprofit art center. And, yeah, I did a whole lot of skiing and realized my childhood dream of covering professional ski racing. 

During all these years I passed through this Valley on my way to Taos and Arizona. It would take my breath away every time I descended Poncha Pass and glimpsed the Sangre de Cristos. My visits here were mostly limited to telemark skiing the Dunes. 

Jump forward a lifetime to 2022 and I finally took the left at Moffat, making the San Luis Valley and Crestone my home. It was a natural course—a Crestone Serendipity—that I would become a board member on the local nonprofit newspaper, The Crestone Eagle— a full circle in my career back to community journalism. I worked with the board as it transitioned through the paper passing from Kizzen Laki to the nonprofit board. My editorial and newspaper production skills along with the keen editorial skills of other board members allowed us to keep the paper moving forward. 

When asked to take on the role of Managing Editor this last month I felt the time had come to throw my hat over the fence, saying yes to the offer. I suspect with the westerly winds here that hat is probably well past Westcliffe now.

For the past months I’ve worked alongside Jennifer Eytcheson, learning the systems she had learned from Kizzen. Taking the role of Managing Editor now allows Jennifer to focus on her position as the Director of the paper’s day-to-day operations. 

You’ve noticed changes in the paper over the last few months. All of us here at The Crestone Eagle are working hard to create a new look that builds from the years of Kizzen’s hard work and dedication. 

The Crestone Eagle has also begun moving its attention out into the Valley with broader coverage. This is something we needed to do as part of the nonprofit grants we are receiving. My goal as Managing Editor—with the support of the board and our editorial team—is to broaden our coverage while keeping sight of the Eagle’s history and comprehensive coverage of our small, unique community. 

A very recent death in the community has me pondering how best to address news stories in our small, unique community. It is my goal to present news about our community members with compassion and integrity. To accomplish this goal, I understand I have a great deal to learn about my role in this community. I am open to all voices new and old and—while I won’t make promises—I will remain open and considerate. 

Crestone Eagle Community Media nonprofit board members are: Gussie Fauntelroy, President, Rick Hart, Treasurer, Karen Barbee, Secretary and we welcome our newest member Leah Murphey-Garcia. Our editorial team includes: Gussie, Karen, Zaylah Pearson-Good, Uma Joliceur, Leah and Jennifer. Our staff includes: Marketing & Media Manager – Uma, Accounts Manager – Shoshannah Asha, Website Administrator – James Henwood, Bookkeeper – Angie Geis, Executive Director – Jennifer. We are adding new writers and reporters as well.

I look forward to serving the people of the Crestone/Baca community and the Valley. I am committed to being a part of the collaborative effort of like-visioned, impassioned people who work to produce an informative, high-quality newspaper. 

I’ll be in the Crestone Eagle office on Tuesdays and Thursdays from about 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. (Crestone time). Stop by and visit. Email me at: editor@crestoneeagle.com or call the office at 719-256-4956. 

For more about me, visit my linktr.ee/fotomatt list of links. 

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