2019: Looking back on the year, the decade, and beyond

For me, 2019 was a year of big change — and it’s not over yet. In February, I left the newspaper business after more than 20 years. We bought our first home here after renting since coming to Colorado early in the decade that’s now ending. And we welcomed our first grandchild.

I loved my all-too-brief time working at Colorado Publishing House — it felt like a real home that embraced me after I was ejected forcibly from The Pueblo Chieftain by its ghoulish new indenture-capital overlord owners.

After losing the job I loved, for which I relocated three generations of my family, I learned a lot about printing as production manager for CPH to add to my editing and design toolbox. But, a new opportunity arose closer to home and it was time to move on.

With my new job in public outreach for the program destroying the last of the U.S.’ aging chemical weapons stockpile, I still use my social media skills and journalism education, but now they’re deployed to tell stories for other stakeholders than just the general public. It’s daunting but also satisfying to know that my “beat” is something few are covering in an exciting time for a unique project; a longtime local newspaper reporter and a regional Associated Press bureau reporter who routinely covered this program in the past for many years both retired in recent months, with the tumultuous chaos of their industry leaving no clear successors.

Here is a sample of my most recent works of brand journalism covering the Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant:

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PCAPP is expected to wrap up by the end of 2023 as the Program Executive Office, Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives project meets its commitment to destroy the last U.S. chemical weapons stockpile in Colorado.

After that project, I expect to delve more deeply into website development and programming, perhaps on a freelance basis, or explore opportunities in information technology and possibly cybersecurity.

I also teach introductory web design at Pueblo Community College, usually in the fall, as I did this fall semester. That may continue, but it’s not likely to ever be more than a side gig.

Meanwhile, I have continued creating content, and coordinating content from select others, for Nerdvana, a blog I created back in 2007 at the East Valley Tribune in Arizona’s Phoenix suburbs and acquired independently for myself in 2016:

But these are some of the meatier 2019 Nerdvana posts I’m proudest of:

I’m always trying to find ways to expand Nerdvana while making it self-sufficient. This year, 2019, also saw a new beginning with a new, more reliable website hosting partner: Springs Hosting. (That’s an affiliate link, by the way.)

I also still occasionally contribute to GeekDad, as I did with this article updating an earlier contribution about a monument being erected to the first and only cat to travel into outer space.

What does the next decade look like? (Yes, I know the “decade” may not technically change until 2021, but entering the Twenties seems like a special milestone anyway. Go with it.)

I’m yet not sure what the long-term future holds, but at this point Nerdvana will continue. I’m hoping to develop it into something bigger, but the outlook for online media is not encouraging. Perhaps it will include a focus on providing services rather than content. We shall see. I took it over because I didn’t want it to be extinguished, and it contains a large portion of my personal portfolio of work. I also hope the coding I have learned over the years, enhanced with teaching myself various ways to modify Nerdvana’s CMS, will help lead the way to success.

As I keep telling friends, I don’t know how many of these career reinventions I have left in me …