Best Denver Instagrammer 2016 | Garrett King, @ShortStache | Best of Denver® | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Denver | Westword

Garrett King has spent years exploring the great state of Colorado through his lens, and he's gained speed on Instagram as a brand ambassador for Collective Nomads. The founder of @ALifeExploring and co-moderator of @ColoradoInstagram, King has earned big-name sponsorships over the past year, including NAU Clothing, the ASUS computer, Teva and many more. King's aesthetic is faded and surreal, depicting the fantasy Colorado life you've always dreamed of. A self-proclaimed wanderer with close to 80,000 followers, King has hiked many a mountain to reach the top as the state's best Instagrammer.
Readers' choice: @milehighandhungry

It's been a rough year for the East High School Angels, what with a police officer getting injured during a protest march and a brief lockdown situation over a gun scare. But the staff of the Spotlight has handled those stories and others with surprising maturity and insight. With the encouragement of advisor/teacher Mark Ajluni, the paper has tackled racial identity and diversity, checked out a nearby methadone clinic, and celebrated local artists and overachievers — all while still finding time for the usual silly stuff about high-school romances and senioritis. Journalism is one trade where you learn by doing, so the students at East are learning plenty.

Social media can be a tricky form of communication for folks in the public eye. As a newscaster, 9News's Kyle Clark takes a brave step into the modern world of communication and dares to engage with friends and foes alike on his various Internet channels. His Twitter account is on fire, challenging viewers to talk politics, sports, beer and crime stories with him throughout the day. Through social media, Clark answers questions, collects anecdotal data and shares behind-the-scenes photos from his life at the news desk. His atypical news-delivery style has been a topic on Reddit, and he's made national news for his humorous rant about viewers sending him snow-covered patio photos during winter storms. Whatever newsworthy events happen around the world — or on the set of 9News — know that Kyle Clark and his hashtags will be there to cover it.

Most car dealership pitchmen stick in viewer's minds because they're loud and crazy (we're looking at you, Dealin' Doug). But Kent Stevinson of Stevinson Automotive is the exception that proves the rule, doling out humor that's decidedly low-key, and all the more amusing as a result. "Meet the Dragon" is a case in point: In the commercial, the not-exactly intimidating-looking Stevinson appears wearing a karate gi as he says, "Follow me on Facebook to get special offers, model updates and more. Follow me down a dark alley, and you'll meet the dragon" — after which he strikes a supposedly fierce fighting pose that wouldn't scare a three-year-old. It's the funniest nine seconds you'll spend all day.

Steffan Tubbs has made a career in Denver radio by doing the little things better than anyone else. Instead of keeping the focus on himself via outrageous statements or loony stunts, he's a facilitator whose main goal is to make those around him shine, be they other members of the KOA team — including co-host April Zesbaugh — or the people he's interviewing. He's smart, efficient and well-prepared, sharing the news and information listeners need during morning-drive time so professionally that it's easy to overlook his skills. But rest assured, he has them in abundance.

Readers' choice: Slacker

The 9News morning show hasn't just topped its time-slot ratings for decades; it's dominated them in ways that are exceedingly rare for any local broadcast. And Gary Shapiro, who took over as host of the program in 1989 (six years after joining the station), is a big reason why. Cohorts have come and gone over the years, but Shapiro's been a constant, shifting from serious breaking news to goofy hijinks with a casual effortlessness that can't be taught. He may not be the brashest element of the program, but he's the glue that holds it together.

Readers' choice: Kyle Clark

In mid-2014, when former 9News staffer Eric Kahnert took over as anchor of the 10 p.m. 7News newscast following the retirement of Mike Landess, media observers anticipated big changes. But while Kahnert is more intense than was the smooth, sophisticated Landess, the program has stayed true to its goal of presenting as much news as possible, including the tougher stories that TV outlets tend to ignore these days. The return of old-school investigator Tony Kovaleski aids in this mission, as does a veteran cast that includes co-anchor Anne Trujillo, sports snarkster Lionel Bienvenu and weather forecaster Mike Nelson. It's a broadcast that won't waste your time. Instead, it makes the most of it.

Readers' choice: 9News

Daybreak isn't your average morning show. Co-anchor Tom Green is the least perky person on the planet — which is a very good thing in this context — and his wry sense of humor and off-kilter way of viewing the world carries over to the other members of the team: fellow anchor Kim Posey, forecaster Chris Tomer, reporter Heather Mills, traffic pro Vicky Evans, and, especially, entertainment expert Chris Parente, the hippest man on Denver TV. The program delivers the important news of the day, but without falling into predictability — a seemingly impossible trick that the Daybreak crew pulls off on a daily basis.

Given that most weather forecasters draw from the same data, delivery is key. And in this respect, Greg Dutra excels. Yes, he's mighty easy on the eyes — something that can't be said about most weather pros. But he also has a wicked wit — watch YouTube for the reference to adult diapers that broke him up during a broadcast on the Iowa station where he worked prior to his 2014 arrival in Denver — and a relaxed rapport with his cohorts. He's worth tuning in for even when the weather isn't doing anything special.

Readers' choice: Kathy Sabine

Local TV hairstyles are typically so generic that we wouldn't be surprised to learn that staffers are all wearing the same wig, trading it off during commercial breaks. So give Melissa Garcia points for going her own way. Her auburn locks are long and so straight that it sometimes seems as if she's just climbed out of a pool. This is a high-maintenance coiffure that plenty of on-air journos would eschew for fear of looking weird during stand-up shots if the wind whipped up. But we've never seen Garcia appear anything other than totally put-together, no matter the circumstances. How does she do it? Only her hairdresser knows for sure.

Readers' choice: Kathy Sabine

Best Of Denver®

Best Of