Our January feature is Ed Sealover, senior reporter for Denver Business Journal (DBJ). Ed has been at DBJ for 12 years and covers government, economic development, transportation, hospitality and brewing. He has won 133 awards in categories ranging from investigative reporting to to beat reporting to public service, including a trio of national and regional awards for a story he did in late 2019 on why Molson Coors moved its headquarters out of Denver and what that meant for the local business ecosystem. In addition, he received his BS in journalism from Northwestern University.
Provide a brief explanation of you job title along with a description of your duties.
I cover six beats — state government, economic development, transportation, hospitality, tourism and the beverage industry. And my reporting is focused on information that business leaders can use to make better decisions about running their companies. My government coverage, for example, focuses solely on business issues rather than on politics or other hot-button issues. And in covering each of the individual industries on my beats, I try to think of what matters not just to the people in that industry but what is important to the business community as a whole and what can have effects on the greater economy.
What stories, trends or issues are currently on your radar?
First and foremost, I’m watching the immediate and long-term future of the industries I cover that have been hammered by the coronavirus pandemic and its associated restrictions — chiefly restaurants, hotels, breweries and the tourism sector. But I’m also watching what is going to come forward in the 2021 legislative session and how it could impact already struggling companies. And I continue to watch whether the state will make any progress on finding new funding for its beleaguered transportation infrastructure.
What do you look for when you are researching writing a story?
My primary goal is to find information that our readers do not know and that will help them in some way if they take the time to read my stories. That’s why I try to report early on pending legislation or on regulatory changes, so they can make their voices heard if they do or do not like what they see being proposed. I also look for stories that, while they may be unique to a specific business or sector, tell a tale that could be valuable for someone in any sector to know. Finally, when I write about a company or sector, I look for something that is unique about that story, rather than just “Hey, look, here’s another company that is succeeding/failing/acting just like everyone else is.”
How has COVID-19 impacted your work?
I’ve been working out of my house since March 15, so it’s increased my reliance on reaching out to sources rather than just showing up to events and talking to people about what is happening. I’ve also found myself working much longer hours for the past nine months, as the news has been so constant and as the line between work and home has been distorted significantly when both activities take place in the same space.
Please describe the most thrilling story you have written.
I don’t know that in a career that’s spanned 26 years, I can pinpoint one “thrilling” story, so I’ll instead identify what maybe is the most unusual story and is thrilling in a different way. While working at The Gazette in Colorado Springs 19 years ago, I convinced the director of the Pioneers Museum to let me and a photographer spend much of the night there looking for the previously sighted ghost of an old courthouse manager who was murdered by a staffer, on the anniversary of his murder. The photographer saw a door move on his own and nearly jumped through the roof. I didn’t see anything, but it was still a lot of fun hunting for ghosts.
What story are you most proud of?
That’s also hard to say. The aforementioned Miller Coors story was a test of grasping an important big-picture issue in a short amount of time, and I think I did that well. I broke a story in 2010 about health-insurance companies dropping individual policies for children in the wake of the Affordable Care Act regulations, and that led to a change in state law. But maybe my favorite story was one I did back in 2003 for The Gazette about a youth boxing program that the city offered, as I got to follow a group of kids far from the normal media spotlight for eight months and tell about how this little-known program changed their lives. That always reminds me why I’m in journalism.
What tips do you have for PR professionals who need to pitch a story to you?
Know why you believe a story is newsworthy and explain it in clear terms. I, like most journalists, juggle a lot of balls and don’t have time to write about most of the pitches that come our way, so explaining very directly why our readers should care about something is key to catching my attention. Also, introducing yourself via an email rather than a phone call is helpful because it will ensure that you can grab my full attention when I have time to read it, rather than catching me in the middle of three other breaking stories. And know that I cover stories with a very limited business focus, so you are not pitching me something that’s not business-related.
What do you enjoy most about being a reporter in Colorado?
I’ve been here for more than 20 years now, and I have yet to get bored; it seems like there is always something happening related to the growth or growing pains of this state that is worthy of elevating to discussion by a larger field of people. Oh, and the job is in Colorado, which is the most beautiful place in the world to live, in my opinion.
When you are not reporting, what are some of your hobbies?
My wife and I have two small children, so we spend most of our down time with them, exploring nature, museums and whatever exciting bit of learning we can introduce to them. But I’m a beer aficionado, and so I’ve written two books (“Mountain Brew: A Guide to Colorado’s Breweries” and “Colorado Excursions with History, Hikes and Hops”) and write the Beer Run Blog on the side. I also like to study local history and participate at my church as a lector and as a minister to the homebound.
Follow Ed on Twitter here.