TORRINGTON – From the moment the Telegram’s newest reporter stepped onto Goshen County soil nearly 50 years ago, she knew she had found her forever home.
Sandra Hansen first visited the area in 1969 during a vacation with her husband.
While here, the couple attended an equestrian show at the Goshen County Fairgrounds.
“The next morning we were leaving and (my husband) said, ‘Do you want to do anything else?’ I said, ‘You find a job and I’ll find a house,’” Hansen recalled. “I just fell in love with the community that one evening I was here.”
On March 1, 1970, Hansen’s dream of living in Goshen County became a reality – and the quiet country lifestyle eventually led her to seek a position with the local paper.
In 1980, she accepted a position as the Telegram’s part-time society editor.
“I sent in a letter and within less than a week I’d interviewed and I had the job. It turned out it wasn’t part-time,” Hansen said with a laugh.
In 1987, she left the paper to finish her history degree at the University of Wyoming. When she returned to Goshen County, she worked in various positions, including taking the reins as public relations director at Eastern Wyoming College for three years and at the ethanol plant as office manager when it opened in 1995.
“After working a couple of jobs in the community, I came back (to the Telegram) as the editor in 1996,” Hansen said. “I left here in May of 1997 and went to New Mexico, and came back to the community in 1999 – then I went to work full-time for the (Scottsbluff, Neb.) Star-Herald in the spring in 2000 as the ag editor.”
Hansen continued at the Herald for 17 years, before she returned – once again – to the Telegram, this time to replace Bud Patterson, who plans to move to the Riverton area later this summer.
Hansen believes she was initially drawn to Goshen County, in part, because of its ag-centric environment.
“My background basically is in agriculture – my grandpa homesteaded when he came out from West Virginia, and my aunt and uncle took over the farm when grandpa retired,” she said. “I lived in Sterling, Colo. but I was out on the farm in (Fleming, Colo.) every chance I got. I just always loved it.”
And although it began on a whim, Hansen said she also truly enjoys her career as a small-town journalist.
“Meeting the people and seeing what’s going on in the community – and then informing the community on so much that’s going on they’d never know about otherwise,” she said. “It’s all memorable. Years later, the memorable things are the memories you make for people you write stories about.”
In Hansen’s opinion, the key to good reporting is simple.
“You have to be a good listener and work really hard at being accurate on what you write about,” she said. “Those two things, and if you are able to write to where people understand it and enjoy reading it. A woman recently said to me, ‘Sandra, you can write about alfalfa and make it interesting.’ Those are the rewards, when people appreciate (what you do).”
In the future, Hansen plans to continue doing what she loves: writing for the paper and living in Goshen County.
“Back when we first came to town, the first time I went down Main Street, I felt like I came home.”