Denver Post team wins Long Video DFMie for ‘The Fire Line’


Meghan Lyden, Mahala Gaylord, AAron Ontiveroz and Helen H. Richardson of the Denver Post won the 2014 Long Video DFMie for their 30-minute documentary ”The Fire Line.”

Their editors’ nomination explains:

“The Fire Line” was a five-month project by the Denver Post that highlighted the issues of wildfires in Colorado and the future of fire policy in the state. This first-ever documentary offers amazing footage of the Waldo Canyon and Black Forest fires, interviews with Colorado leaders in wildfire policy, research and firefighting. The staffers conducted interviews across the state, researched countless videos and fire photos from professionals and the public and uncovered the firsthand accounts of what happens while a fire rages out of control.

After the video aired (and was also broadcast by our local television partner), The Post received requests from across the country and Canada for copies of the documentary to be used in first-responder trainings and community meetings dealing with mitigation and wildfire education. In addition, Will May, chair of the International Association of Fire Chiefs’ Wildland Fire Committee, showed the video to the entire board of directors and guests at their meeting in Washington.

This documentary demonstrates what a staff can be capable of when enough care and dedication go into a task.

Judges’ comments:

We were impressed with the Denver Post team’s ability to shoot stunning visuals, pull together powerful archival footage and devote the time and resources necessary to tell a large story about a very important issue. The team was able to find a good range of compelling characters who came across well on camera and delivered interviews that gave us a deep appreciation for the work firefighters do.

This was one of four DFMies for the Denver Post and one of six for the Colorado newsrooms.

About Meghan Lyden


Meghan Lyden

Meghan Lyden

Lyden is the Senior Multimedia Photo Editor at The Denver Post, where she is responsible for the development of multimedia projects, photo galleries and video stories on

Before joining the Post, Lyden was a photo editing intern at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Lyden edited and produced the online presentations of Craig F. Walker’s 2010 and 2012 Pulitzer Prize winning photo projects, American Soldier and Welcome Home. In 2013, she was a member of The Denver Post Staff awarded the Pulitzer for Breaking News Reporting for coverage of the Aurora Theater Shooting which included photographs, videos and multimedia projects.

Meghan is a 2000 graduate of Providence College in Providence, Rhode Island and holds a Masters degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri in Columbia, Missouri. While studying at MU, she was a coordinator for College Photographer of the Year and Pictures of the Year International.

About Mahala Gaylord


Mahala Gaylord

Mahala Gaylord

Gaylord was born in the Finger Lakes region of Upstate New York in 1987. She has six siblings and is vegan, according to some.

She attended Syracuse University 2005-2009, majoring in journalism and American history with a healthy side of marching band and Brazilian Ensemble.

Her hobbies include swing dance, blackened vegetables, coffee and cats. She was hired at the Denver Post in April 2010.

About AAron Ontiveroz


AAron Ontiveroz

AAron Ontiveroz

Ontiveroz was born in 1984 and grew up in Wyoming. He is a graduate of Northwest College and the University of Wyoming. He was hired as a staffer at The Denver Post in November 2010.

All of his hobbies include his daughter, Noa, 2.

Ontiveroz was part of the team that won the Post’s DFMie for investigative/enteprise journalism for the project about spinal-cord injuries, Stepping Toward Hope.

About Helen H. Richardson

Helen H. Richardson

Helen H. Richardson

Richardson has been a staff photographer with the Denver Post for over 15 years. One of her passions is covering wildfires and wild land firefighting. She has covered all of the major fires in Colorado in the past 10 years, three of which were in the past two years alone: the Waldo Canyon Fire, High Park Fire and Black Forest Fire.

She was excited to work on this project “because wild land fires or forest fires are a real and present threat to living in the American West. Having the time to speak to people with in-depth knowledge of the problems faced in communities living in fire zones has been one of the highlights of the past few years for me.”

As video grows in the world of newspapers, Richardson appreciates getting the time to produce videos such as “The Fireline and the chance to do in-depth stories about important issues facing communities.

Other finalists

Other finalists for the Long Video DFMie were:

Steve Buttry

By Steve Buttry

Steve Buttry is Digital Transformation Editor for Digital First Media. He oversees our efforts to transform newsroom operations and culture to more effectively pursue our digital goals. His duties include responsibility for social media and community engagement. He has visited most DFM newsrooms personally, leading workshops and coaching editors and other journalists in following the Digital First approach.

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