Coming Back to Western Colorado

By: Amanda Wagner
By: Amanda Wagner

Some call it a curse but after leaving and coming back to the Western Slope - twice - I have a better understanding of why I love living in and covering the News in Western Colorado.

I’m a Colorado Native and after a short venture living outside the Centennial State, I am proud to be one.  Plus - the fact that I have spent the better part of my live living in the Grand Valley, gives me a somewhat unique perspective reporting the news here.


I know my perspective isn’t the normal one, because I haven’t always reported on stories in my hometown.  Last fall I did what every Broadcast Journalist dreams of, I got a job in a larger market!  It would mean more money, more opportunities, and get me a baby step closer to what I thought was my lifetime career goal, to be an Evening Anchor in Chicago. I thought this move was exactly what I wanted. 


So off I went to Madison, Wisconsin.  I worked as a Reporter and Weekend Anchor, but it wasn’t all I had hoped it would be.  Sure there was a lot going on there.  It’s the State Capitol, it’s the site of a major University, The University of Wisconsin, and let’s not forget, what seemed to me like the lifeline of Wisconsin, the Green Bay Packers.  I kept busy for the fist few months.  I was eager to learn as much as I could, I wanted to grow and move on again  But the sense of accomplishment and success I felt for taking the next step, wasn’t enough to mask the overwhelming sense that something was missing.  A connection to the community.


I didn’t have the connection with the viewers there that I do here, in Western Colorado.  I wasn’t a part of that community.  Sure I lived there, but my friends and family were more than a thousand miles away.  The stories I covered there didn’t impact my family and I didn’t feel like they impacted me.


So I moved back to Grand Junction, back to a smaller market.  It was a move that my “TV” friends didn’t really understand. Why take a step backward? After I worked so hard to take a step forward, it did feel a little like a step back.  I had to answer the “Why would you do that?” question a lot.  But answering it helped me learn a lot about my career goals, and a lot about myself.  I learned that what made most people in my line of work happy – having a photographer to shoot and edit your video, a clothing allowance and being live in every newscast – didn’t make me happy.  Being in Grand Junction did.  So that’s how I started answering the question. 


The transition back to 11 News wasn’t exactly how I had envisioned either.  After a few months back on 11 News Live Today, our Morning Show (yes I agreed to move back and get up at 2 a.m. I actually LOVE the morning schedule, I’m crazy I know), another challenge came my way.  My boss decided to take another job.  So now, I am taking on some of the Newsroom Managing responsibilities at 11 News and anchoring the Noon show.   It’s a lot of work and a big challenge for me, but I am doing what I love, in a place I love so I can’t complain J


Even thought you may see less of me “on the air” my Grand Valley perspective is still behind the scenes at 11 News.  Everyday I try my best to find stories that matter to each one of you – living in a place you no doubt love – the Grand Valley.


Keep checking this Blog for perspectives from a “Grand Valley Native” and if you have a local perspective or an outsiders view, something you think is really weird about Western Colorado that you’d like to share, post your comments at the top of this page.  I’d love to hear from you.



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  • by Rick on Mar 25, 2010 at 12:32 PM
    I was born in Rifle but moved to Grand Junction in 1837 when I was 3 y.o. I went to Hawthorne Elementary School at 4th and Hill and to Grand Junction Junior High and High School located at 9th and Grand. I graduated in 1955 the last year the G.J.H.S. school building was used. They moved to the present Grand Junction H.S. in late 1955. I worked for the Daily Sentinel at 7th and Main during my H.S. years when teenagers all worked in the mailroom. I was here when they celebrated the end of World War II by dragging main honking horns and throwing taffy out to the people on the sidewalks. I came back to G.J. after living in El Paso Tx for 23 years in 1993. I actually worked as the controller for Colorado Northwestern Community College in Rangely and came back to G.J. on the weekends. I moved totally to G.J. in 2000 , I am an old local.
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