Star kicks off '14 with new direction

Paper hires managing editor and reporter, begins redesign

The Cortez Journal enters the new year with new staff and new direction.

Ballantine Communications has named Trent Stephens managing editor of the Cortez Journal, Mancos Times and Dolores Star. He is responsible for newsroom operations.

The publishing group also hired reporter Mary Shinn, who contributes to The Mancos Times, Dolores Star and Cortez Journal.

Shinn joins a staff that includes reporters Tobie Baker and Jim Mimiaga, sports editor Ian MacLaren, assistant Amanda Maestas and longtime photographer Sam Green.

The Cortez, Mancos and Dolores newspapers began reinvigorating their efforts to reach the Four Corners on social media such as Facebook and Twitter. The newspapers update Facebook pages daily and often post news when it happens and before it appears in print. The papers have increased use of photos and videos on Facebook and Twitter, and story tips have come from businesses and friends that post on the newspapers' Facebook pages.

The three newspapers also are refreshing the look of their pages, an update that aims to increase readability and content. The first step in that process began today, as The Journal updated its typography, which allows for more content without sacrificing typography size.

Stephens is optimistic about journalism in the Four Corners.

"Cortez, Mancos and Dolores are vibrant and interested communities that want and deserve the best journalism that we and our partners in Durango can give them," he said. "The staff are hard-working and dedicated journalists, and the Four Corners is beautiful country. I'm excited to be here."

Stephens' newspaper experience also includes news and advertising/marketing positions at The Rocky Mountain News in Denver, The Gazette in Colorado Springs, The Indianapolis Star, Newsday in Long Island, N.Y., and The Sun in San Bernardino, Calif. He graduated from the University of Colorado Boulder in 1983.

The Cortez, Mancos and Dolores newspapers are owned by Durango-based Ballantine Communications Inc.

Stephens reports to Don Lindley, editor for Ballantine Communications Inc.