Hot on the Heels of the News

Alejandro (far left) Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald

Alejandro (far left) Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald

By Dean’s Intern Alejandro Alvarez at The Durango Herald

It might’ve been the woman trying her best to stuff a fishing rod into the overhead compartment, or the guy sitting next to me intent on wearing his cowboy hat for the whole journey. It was safe to say I knew I was on the right flight to Durango, Colorado.

When I graduated from American University last May, I knew the road ahead wouldn’t be easy. I knew I was heading into a profession which proved evermore hostile towards newcomers, full of naysayers (some of them veteran reporters) who spewed negativity about how the field was “dead,” or at best in its death throes, and that anybody who didn’t take a tangent into a more profitable career in public relations or consulting was insane.

I didn’t care, I stuck with it. Call me insane, fine, but I live for those moments where I’m hot on the heel of a news scoop, a potentially iconic photo, or a good interview. For me, it’s worth anything. And now, six months and dozens of applications and Starbucks networking appointments later, that search goes on. But thanks to opportunities like the Durango Herald, things are still looking bright.

It might have been the beautiful Southwest Colorado mountain landscape, the absolutely to-do-for hot cider at the area hipster coffee joint, or the fact I spent a good part of my introductory trip to Durango interviewing Trump supporters at a spontaneous Mike Pence rally in town that day. Getting to report on this election like that – hearing about the latent distrust in globalism and outsiders fueling much of rural America’s support for Trump – was itself an experience to last me a lifetime.

Campaign reporting aside, in all honestly, seeing a fully staffed, well-respected newsroom running in what most coast dwellers would offhandedly dismiss as “flyover country” was my other biggest takeaway from my brief trip to Durango. And though my stay at the paper might be brief, with Capitol Hill on leave around the election and my internship term running through to the end of December, I hope to make the best out of the time that I have. As my cab driver back to the airport told me, Durango has a need for their own set of eyes and ears in the nation’s capital. That’s a mission statement if I’ve ever heard one.