A column introducing the new editor-in-chief of Boulder Weekly should start with an introduction: Hi. I’m Shay Castle. I was born in Ohio, went to college in Florida and moved to Boulder in 2012 to take a job at the Daily Camera. For the past five years, I’ve been running Boulder Beat as essentially a one-woman newsroom (with lots of community support).
I’m a former theater kid. In my entire academic career, the two lowest grades I ever got were B’s in Geometry and Human Sexuality. I like bikes, hiking, yoga, sunshine, being barefoot, reading and dogs. I have a 22-year-old Toyota Corolla with 198,600 miles on it, one odd-colored door purchased at the junkyard and a custom-built bed instead of passenger seats. Her name is Roxie. My 12-year-old commuter bicycle is Charles Bikely.
So that’s me. But I’m really more interested in you.
Journalists come and go: There’s been a lot more leaving in recent years as traditional funding structures for local news shift and shrink. Through it all, you — the community and the readers — are there.
When we do our jobs well, you are better informed and more connected. When we struggle or make mistakes, you suffer.
As I wrote for Boulder Beat, “Good journalism helps a community have a conversation with itself. It reflects the conversations already happening and leads with new information and perspectives.”
Without you, that conversation runs the risk of becoming a monologue.
I would like my time at Boulder Weekly to be defined by, first and foremost, collaboration. The old way of doing journalism — us as the experts, parachuting into your neighborhoods and extracting pieces of your lives for stories — had some serious flaws, not least of which was the people it left out of the conversation.
We, the media, have done real harm. The way to repair harm is to build (and, in some cases, rebuild) relationships, to empower readers and community members to tell their own stories.
Thankfully, Boulder Weekly has always been news by and about the community. As outgoing editor Caitlin Rockett wrote in her goodbye column last week, “This isn’t ‘the media,’ these are your neighbors.”
So let’s get neighborly, starting by getting to know one another. You know a little bit about me: Now it’s your turn.
Consider this column less of an introduction and more an invitation. Send us your story ideas, your letters and opinions, your suggestions and your thoughtful criticisms.
I like to say that journalism is like democracy: It’s gonna happen with or without you, but it works a whole lot better when you participate. I believe we can work together to make the Weekly and this community stronger and more connected than ever.
To plagiarize myself one last time: You need the news. And the news needs you. — Shay