We don’t always find our dream jobs. Sometimes they find us.
That was the case for Amber McIver-Traywick, The Berthoud Weekly Surveyor editor who won the Colorado Press Association’s Rising Star Award in April. McIver-Traywick earned a master’s degree in journalism from Ball State in 2007 but didn’t work for a newspaper until last year when she responded to an ad for a reporter position in The Weekly Surveyor’s classifieds.
“It took me multiple career changes, 10 years, living in three states and moving over 2,000 miles to land the job of my dreams that ended up being three blocks from my house in a little town in Colorado,” said McIver-Traywick, who’s originally from Indiana and lived in Alabama. She joked, “I might be the oldest Rising Star CPA has ever had.
The Rising Star Award recognizes, celebrates and encourages the next generation of Colorado’s leaders in journalism.
McIver-Traywick had always wanted to work in journalism, but attractive and unexpected job offers altered her course. Between earning her master’s in 2007 and joining The Weekly Surveyor in 2017, McIver-Traywick worked in human resources staffing, taught at an elementary school, performed contract administration for a commercial construction company and started a travel agency, which she still operates. Her husband’s job relocation brought the couple to Berthoud about 18 months ago. McIver-Traywick didn’t have work awaiting her and hadn’t planned on interviewing at the local paper.
“My path didn’t unfurl anywhere near to how I envisioned it,” she said.
McIver-Traywick impressed Weekly Surveyor Publisher Becky Justice-Hemmann.
“She interviewed really well and had good energy,” Justice-Hemmann said. “We thought she was a good writer.”
McIver-Traywick, who last worked in a newsroom during college, had cobwebs to shake and not long to do it. At The Weekly Surveyor, she “was tossed into the deep end to sink or swim,” she said. First, she covered a high-profile murder trial. Then, the newspaper’s publisher was sidelined with surgery. McIver-Traywick stepped up to fill the void.
Sink or swim? McIver-Traywick started doing laps.
“Being a small town weekly we all wear a lot of hats,” Justice-Hemmann wrote in McIver-Traywick’s nomination letter. “She learned to layout the paper, the details of sending to printer and taking care of mailing, creating ads and delivery to rack. All with a cheerful and can-do attitude.”
McIver-Traywick is also a rising star in Berthoud. She serves on the local Habitat for Humanity Board and the Town of Berthoud Historic Preservation Committee. She loves the vibrancy of the growing town, which is reflected in the pages of The Weekly Surveyor.
In early June, McIver-Traywick helped put together The Weekly Survey’s largest-ever newspaper. The robust edition fortified the importance – and relevance – of community journalism for McIver-Traywick.
“I absolutely believe there will always be a space and a need for local news,” she said. “It’s an honor and I think a pretty big responsibility – even in the microcosm of a small town – to tell the story of that place and the people who live there.”