EDITOR’S NOTE: Admiration and Ineludible Change

By on August 30, 2017

The Interim Editor (on the right) following a costume change.

JACKSON HOLE, WY – Had someone told me a year ago that I would be minding the reins, even temporarily, of PJH Editor Robyn Vincent, I would have laughed. How could Robyn leave the amazing alternative weekly she worked so hard to craft and steer over these years? In the course of Robyn’s tenure at the Planet, she served in every possible capacity on the journalistic side, from reporter, to photographer, to copy editor and, finally, to editor. Robyn is simply a force.

Stepping in for the meantime as we search for an editor–an ongoing process and in no way complete–my goal is to continue with the same eye towards advocacy journalism as my mentor. We are living in a changing world. Jackson is not the same place today that it was 20 or even 10 years ago. We have greater diversity, both economic and ethnic, and perhaps even political, than ever before.

Robyn understood that our role as journalists is to make sure all voices in this community are heard, that injustices are talked about in the open, and that our community is made aware of tough issues. For people less privileged injustices are nothing new–just ask the women around you, or the service workers, or the people of color in our community. The Planet brings these issues and voices to the fore so that even the most privileged amongst us have our eyes and ears opened. This was Robyn’s mission, and it is one I am pleased to continue. I will keep a laser focus on the changes in Jackson Hole, as well as the constants, good, bad or somewhere in between.

As I faced any number of challenging life situations, my father often provided me with very matter-of-fact quips of wisdom. As I struggled to process stressful shifts, he would often cock his head to the side, eyebrows raised, and say, “Change is the only thing you can count on, Jess.” Irritating as that could be to the teenage me in the midst of serious high school crises, as life has ebbed and flowed and as I have gotten older, another constant, his words have been truth. Change has remained one reliable constant. And once again, change is upon us, and the Planet.

As a young twenty-something, I often kicked around the idea of a career in journalism. At the ripe age of 26, I landed a job at Newsweek on Air in New York City with the renowned journalist David Alpern. However, as things have the habit of doing, my journalistic career path changed, abruptly ending with the sudden death of my mother. As the new guardian of my youngest brothers, who were nine and 15, and transplanted back to my hometown of Pittsburgh, I wasn’t sure when–if ever–I would find myself back in the business. Surely, when I moved the boys to Jackson, I thought that path was history.

Cue last fall, when I became intimately acquainted with local politics and policy as a candidate for town council. At some point, I made a pact with Robyn to use all that acquired knowledge to write for the Planet if I did not succeed in my bid; she always had her eyes open for new writers. Exactly one day after what was for many a devastating election day, I started my stint at the Planet writing on issues facing the valley.

I had some notion I would meet my match, if not my superior, in Robyn, as far as passion for people, politics and Jackson goes. But, I had no idea about the commitment my new editor actually had to this valley, to the community–especially the people that keep this place grinding along–and to giving voice to the numerous struggles and successes within this state we call home.

Robyn staunchly strived for journalistic excellence and integrity–not to mention the cleanest copy possible. As she starts a new chapter, so many people will miss her in so many ways. All that said, with her genuine love for this place I’m not convinced we have seen the last of her!

Thank you, Robyn, for setting the bar so high. I am certain I speak for many as I wish you all the success on this next journey. It is my honor to lift your alternative torch as interim editor in these times of change. PJH

About Jessica S Chambers

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