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SUN’s Mike Pierce wins press association competition

“Tragedy will not define us.”

Tragedy will not define Colorado.

The act of the few shall not define the whole.

There is more. There is the majority.

That is the message of the award-winning ad that SUN staff member Mike Pierce made for the “Strength of Colorado” artwork competition conducted by the Colorado Press Association (CPA).

The ad, which first ran in the July 26 edition of the SUN, will be displayed on the cover of the August 2012 edition of Colorado Editor and in CPA member newspapers across the state this week.

Pierce, a lifelong native of Pagosa Springs, knows what Colorado is. “Our air is crisp and fresh,” his ad reads. “Our lands are vibrant, pristine, wondrous and beautiful.”

Instead of showing this by designing a mountainous landscape in colors that resemble the Colorado flag, Pierce chose to simply write, in Helvetica Neue font, the values that all Coloradans know their state embodies.

“Our lakes, rives and powder are deep. Just like our sense of community,” another line from the ad reads.

“There is more to Colorado than the actions of a few,” Pierce said. Since the Aurora shooting and the Waldo Canyon and High Park fires, media headlines have depicted the horrors more than the beauty, the joy and the heart.

“Naturally, the media grabs onto headlines that will drive traffic to their websites, and push magazine and newspaper,” Pierce said, but those headlines aren’t Colorado.

“Colorado has a very storied history, but it’s also on the edge of progressive technology,” Pierce said.

Pierce devised an experiment to show just how negative and popular the Colorado headlines have become nationally. When searching for a state using the Google search engine, the first two sites that listed in the search results are the government site and the tourism site. However, for Colorado, the first sites listed are news headlines concerning the Aurora shooting.

“Our values,” Pierce said, “that should be what defines Colorado.”

Pierce will choose a charity of his choice where $375 will be donated in his name.

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