By Joe Arney
Photos by RJ Sangosti
Photographer RJ Sangosti carved out a niche in environmental journalism because crime stories had a way of following him home when he was working general assignment for The Denver Post.
He’s still doing great work—but it’s still following him home.
Sangosti has been documenting the Colorado River’s decline at the Post and through other channels, including a Scripps Environmental Journalism Fellowship at CU Boulder. He also has received grants from CMCI’s Water Desk to travel and hire artists to showcase his work on the river.
That support emboldened him to approach the story of a local river as a national crisis—a key goal of the Water Desk, which is dedicated to improving journalism connected to the Colorado River, especially around changes driven by climate, population and politics.
“The fellowship made me aware that journalism is not just the one big story—it’s about helping people understand and tell stories about the river,” he said.
A Gunnison native who grew up fishing and playing in the Taylor River, Sangosti hopes his work creates a visual story of the river that inspires others, including widespread sharing of his photos through the Post and, one day, a comprehensive website with photos, charts, maps—even drawings from Indigenous people who live nearby.
“I want to stop people, make them think, and elevate how we are conserving water and planning our growth in the West,” he said.