From the Editor

Meet some of the faces behind Tribune’s bylines

sduerr@thetribunenews.comFebruary 6, 2014 

Who’s behind those bylines you read in our newspaper and our website — the people who write the stories, take the pictures and video, create maps, edit the stories and design pages?

Read on. This new feature is designed to tell you.

With the Winter Olympics kicking off today in Sochi, Russia, I’ll start by introducing two members of our Sports Department, which has consistently won awards for its Sports section in the California Newspaper Publishers Association’s annual Better Newspapers Contest.

Both Sports Editor Ashley Conklin and sports/news copy editor Tristan Aird are instrumental in selecting and packaging sports news daily, including an extra two pages devoted exclusively to the Olympic athletes that we’ll feature during the event’s 18-day run.

Ashley Conklin

Ashley, 45, joined our newsroom in 2004 as a copy editor for sports and news and was promoted to sports editor in 2008.

Before joining The Tribune, he worked as a sports reporter at the Herald & News newspaper in Klamath Falls, Ore., from 1991 to 1997 and as sports editor and copy editor at The East Oregonian in Pendleton, Ore., from 1997 to 2004.

A native of Oregon, Ashley graduated from the University of Oregon in 1991 with a bachelor of science degree in journalism and a minor in English.

He pursued a journalism career, he says, because “I knew at an early age that I would never become a professional athlete in the NFL, NBA or Major League Baseball.”

As sports editor, Ashley works with reporters, interns and copy editors to coordinate sports coverage of 12 county high schools as well as Cal Poly and Cuesta College. He’s also responsible for the daily production of the sports pages as well as our sports section online, SanLuisObispo.com/sports/. That involves laying out and designing pages — and deciding what state, national and international sports stories to include.

Ashley says he enjoys working here because of our strong emphasis on local news and sports and our role as the community watchdog.

Outside of work, he likes to run, play basketball with friends, and take advantage of other outdoor opportunities. His wife, Teri, works for a medical marketing firm in San Luis Obispo.

Tristan Aird

Tristan, 29, works four nights a week in sports and one night a week in general news. Like Ashley and our sports reporters, his shift is from about 2:30 to 11:30 p.m.

He juggles a wide variety of duties. “I do everything from designing pages to selecting stories and photos to proofing content to coming up with headlines to writing and compiling staff reports to web posting,” he says.

Tristan, a native of San Luis Obispo County and a 2003 graduate of Paso Robles High School, graduated cum laude with a bachelor of science degree in journalism from Cal Poly in 2008.

During college he worked as a sports intern here until August 2008 when he was hired as a sports reporter at the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

“I had a blast working in Las Vegas for more than four years, until November 2012, when I chose to try my hand as a sports editor closer to home at the Gilroy Dispatch,” he says. “When a copy-editing post opened up back at The Tribune, I knew coming full circle would be too rewarding an opportunity to pass up.”

Why journalism? “My burning passion is showing the human condition through the prism of sport. We’re in an era when in-depth, enterprise and feature reporting are being drowned by quick bursts of information that too often have little staying power or memorable impact. It’s my goal to continue searching for stories that provide readers a reason for pause and thought.”

Sandra Duerr is executive editor of The Tribune. If you have specific ideas for coverage, please email her at sduerr@thetribunenews.com or write me c/o The Tribune, P.O. Box 112, San Luis Obispo, CA 93406-0112. Follow me on Twitter @SandraDuerr.

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