I have a confession: I am an unapologetic coffee snob.
Flipping the little red switch on my coffee maker to brew organic, shade-grown, fair-trade, dark roast is the first thing I do every morning, without fail.
I like it strong, uncorrupted by the likes of cream and sugar, which cover up the gentle bitterness and delicious, earthy undertones that follow every sip.
For me, nothing goes with my morning joe, with one exception. For that ingredient I stumble out my front door and begin the search for the reliable oblong bag hiding somewhere on my deck.
I unsheathe it, open the crisp pages and begin my day.
It’s not surprising that I ended up a journalist. I’ve had a lifelong habit of asking a lot of questions and telling a lot of stories, usually in that order. I love newspapers — for the timelessness of ink on paper and the dedication they have to their communities.
Like a lot of people in this business, the path that led me here has been anything but conventional — I’ve worked as a swimming instructor, sold musical instruments and most recently made bone, skin and soft-tissue allografts at a local tissue bank. I studied biology in college, and I waited until finishing a degree to realize I wasn’t cut out to be a doctor.
Laurence Washington, a writer who taught one of my first reporting classes at Metro State, offered this bit of wisdom: Journalists are jacks of all trades but masters of none.
I have to agree, at least in part. Those of us fortunate enough to call journalism a trade know the excitement of telling stories. We leave our own worlds for a moment to give the community a glimpse of something more important, usually more interesting, than ourselves. Almost every day, we get a preview of another life and have the privilege of sharing a bit of it with our readers.
As the Courier’s new staff reporter, I have some pretty big shoes to fill. For more than two years AJ Vicens has covered the South Jeffco community and government, telling stories in accurate, engaging news and features.
I probably don’t have to explain the importance of community newspapers to anyone reading this. But in an age in which newspapers continually fall to the silence of anachronism, the responsibility of working as a reporter at a local paper is one I do not take lightly.
I am eager to provide the same reliable news South Jeffco has come to expect from the Courier, and it’s my mission to give as much of myself as I can to every story, whether it concerns government accountability or a quirky elementary school bake sale.
I’m excited to be a part of the community and look forward to serving it with the full extent of my ability.
Emile Hallez is the new South Jeffco reporter for the Columbine Courier. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 303-933-2233, ext. 22.