Learning to Localize for the Durango Herald

By Dean’s Intern Jack Purcell at The Durango Herald

Jack Purcell

Jack at the Durango headquarters in Colorado

As a student in D.C., I’ve grown accustomed to thinking big; life in the nation’s capital has made it so that much of my experience reporting has been focused in one way or another on the national level. This changed when I joined The Durango Herald as an intern this semester. I was still in D.C., but my work was no longer being read by hyperpolitical Washington residents; I was writing for an outdoorsy town of around 20,000 people nestled deep in Southwestern Colorado.

For the Herald, I learned to stop thinking like one of the countless reporters on the Hill and throughout D.C. that are looking to jump on national stories as soon as they happen. Instead, as a reporter for a local paper who happens to be in Washington, I approach every story with a question: why does this matter to Colorado and to Durango?

With this question in mind, this internship has given me the opportunity to cover everything from the election to local energy grid changes, combining the unique position of being in D.C. with a local mindset that I’ve developed by speaking to and connecting with business owners and local officials from Durango and other parts of Colorado. Local reporting has some departures from what I’ve grown used to as an SOC student but I think that the work of local newspapers is incredibly important and I’m grateful to have the opportunity to count myself among them.

Here is a link to the page of the Herald’s website where my writing is collected: https://durangoherald.com/staff/21691-john-purcell