Gary Garrison will begin his new role Monday as editor of the Boulder Daily Camera’s opinion page, returning to the Boulder Valley after several years away from Colorado and the country.
Garrison said he hopes to make the camera’s opinion pages a place of inclusive civility at a time when Americans seem more divided along political lines than ever and newspaper opinion sections have lost relevance. in the era of social media that dominates the public square.
Raised in Conifer, Garrison earned a bachelor’s degree in creative writing from the University of Colorado at Denver before spending some time in the Boulder and Broomfield area with his wife and family.
His interest in journalism began while studying for a master’s degree in creative writing at Arizona State University and teaching at Arizona State Prison.
“It was game-changing for me, to be in this situation and experience this world,” he said. “The way I saw power and privilege and the things I didn’t understand made me think, ‘How can I tell this story?'”
Garrison earned his second master’s degree at the University of Missouri School of Journalism before spending a year as an editor at the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. He then moved to China with his wife to teach until COVID-19 started spreading around the world. The couple returned to Broomfield to wait out the pandemic.
When travel restrictions began to be lifted, Garrison and his wife traveled to Spain to teach English for the past two years in Vitoria-Gasteiz and Gijón before returning to Boulder. A reader since 2011, Garrison jumped at the chance to work at his hometown newspaper.
“Most of our former editorial page editors had ties to Boulder, and having Gary have a tie to Boulder was a powerful driver for us,” said Al Manzi, CEO of Prairie Mountain Media, the parent company of the camera.
Garrison also aims to turn the opinion section into a place where Boulder and Boulder County residents can not only discuss major issues such as housing affordability, dealing with the growing risk of wildfires and… floods with stakeholders and residents, but also be a space to draw potential solutions from elsewhere in the country as a way forward for the region.
“A community needs a place to express itself, to solve problems and to deal with things,” he said. “It’s a huge honor to work with the community to create a space where we can grow, learn from each other and empathize with each other.”