What you haven’t read in the slew of Sentinel stories that have been coming your way the last few weeks, is that reporter Carina Julig filed the most recent APS superintendent bombshell after 1 a.m.
Late nights for reporters come with the territory. But Carina’s day started before 8 a.m.
There wasn’t much time for napping on that Tuesday before the night-time school board meeting that would officially decide the fate of long-time APS Superintendent Rico Munn. That’s because she was under the gun to wrap up a bevy of other critical stories that just can’t wait.
Carina broke the APS story late Friday afternoon, a favorite time of the week for all kinds of governments and officials to “soft-open” what is often really big news.
It meant that her weekend was spent largely working around the fact that most others don’t work all weekend to make sure the job, in this case the story, is done right.
I share this one out of hundreds of similar examples of the Sentinel staff going far, far beyond even the call of duty most journalists in this country carry out every single day. I say that meaning, every — single — day. And well into the night.
Sentinel reporter Max Levy regularly starts his Mondays before 8 a.m. and files stories from Aurora City Council sometimes at 2 a.m. or 3 a.m.
Sports Editor Courtney Oakes is infamous at the Sentinel for wrapping up coverage of breaking or feature sports news — from his hotel room during his rare vacations or his in-laws’ home during family holidays several states away.
Sentinel Managing Editor Kara Mason spends endless hours tracking down quotes and facts from sources who don’t want to see information get into the story. She does this even when other local media give up on trying to include it in critical stories. At the same time, she’s moving stories across the Sentinel’s print, online and E-dition channels and making sure your daily weather forecast is accurate and even amusing.
Presentation Editor Robert Sausaman this week was designing pages from the office of an assisted-living facility in Florida, where he was taking time off to visit.
I cannot count the number of times Sentinel Photo Editor Philip Poston has stood in the freezing cold, blistering heat or in dangerous traffic determined to get the perfect picture of a story about a shooting, a protest or even a freezing cat perched for days on a light pole.
In the photo above, activists during an Elijah McClain protest on I-225 are seen running from a gunman that opened fire on a car. Philip is running toward the shooting, firing his camera the entire way.
He knows my promises about the “wind dying down soon” or “media cops are on the way” don’t mean squat. He gets the shot no matter what.
You can’t make up this kind of commitment to journalism, the Sentinel and the Aurora community.
These are the journalists who do so much, so often, that it appears to most readers that we have a staff far larger than what it is.
We need a much bigger roster of journalists, not just to help make the incredible work of covering Aurora more manageable, but so we can do more for Aurora.
For every story, photo or editorial we offer Sentinel readers, there are — no exaggeration — dozens more just as important that we can’t get to.
The Sentinel is changing. In June, this 115-year-old paper was donated by its former owner to an innovative effort to sustain and grow it.
The process of dramatically changing the business structure of the Sentinel is underway. In essence, the change will ensure the Sentinel thrives as an asset of the community — not a hedge fund, not a single owner and not a corporate empire.
We’re almost there, but there’s lots of work to do. Innovation isn’t fast or easy when it comes to journalism and a free press.
But in the case of the Sentinel, innovation, and change, is inevitable and welcome.
In the meantime, as we finalize our plan for the Sentinel, the news keeps happening, and the stories must keep coming.
I know there is no shortage of worthy community causes asking for your contributions and support right now.
I just want you to know why the Sentinel should be a top consideration for your financial support. And I want everyone to know how hard the staff here in the newsroom, and in the legals, business, advertising and circulation departments, work to make sure all of Aurora gets what they critically need: trusted, accurate and dependable news — every single day.
It’s hard work and never as glamorous as it looks on TV and the silver screen. But it’s so important to you and everyone you know, that the commitment, often grueling, is worth it.
Enjoy the Sentinel and all we offer today. Know that everything we produce is available to everyone who wants and needs it, free on newspaper racks, free daily in email boxes and free daily online — without paywalls.
A free press is that important, but it depends on you.