Longtime writer and photographer Deborah Rose has been named editor of The Greater New Milford Spectrum.

“Deborah’s understanding of the greater New Milford area and her passion for what she does shines through in her work and her interactions with our readers,” said Keila Torres Ocasio, assistant managing editor at The News-Times and former Spectrum editor, who passed the baton to Rose last month. “I have no doubt she will do great in this role.”

Rose, a New Milford native and one of the first Spectrum staff members, recently celebrated her 21st anniversary with the publication.

“My heart has been with this paper since its first edition on Feb. 20, 1998,” said Rose. “It’s such a privilege to be part of this community and know that so many people count on me to be sure their news gets in the paper.

“More importantly, though, being a storyteller is humbling,” she said. “To know people entrust me to tell their stories is an honor.”

Throughout her career, Rose has served in all capacities of the newsroom, including writing, editing and page planning, as well as with photography and production. She also has served as a community liaison.

Rose assumes the title, following in the footsteps of two veteran journalists in her family, Art and Norm Cummings.

“I guess this is in my blood,” said Rose “I’ve always loved to write and tell stories, so it just makes sense.”

Art Cummings retired as editor emeritus of The Greater New Milford Spectrum and The News-Times in 2014 after nearly 42 years in journalism.

Norm Cummings, who retired in 2015 almost 41 years in the industry, was known widely across the region for his extensive coverage of youth and adult sports, award-winning photography and columns.

Throughout her career, Rose has earned numerous awards from the Connecticut Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists for writing, photography and her “By Any Other Name” column.

The New Milford High School graduate also received a Dow Jones Special Achievement Award by the paper’s then-parent company Dow Jones in 2005.

Rose began her career as a freelance photographer for the former New Milford Times in the mid-1990s and shortly thereafter assumed a reporter’s role.

In 1998, she was sought, along with the Cummings brothers and reporter Lynda Wellman, who all also worked at The New Milford Times, by The News-Times to start The Spectrum to expand coverage in the community in a weekly capacity.

“I had the best mentors, and we all shared the same passion — a love of this community,” said Rose, who holds a bachelor and a master degree. “The paper has evolved over time as the industry has changed and staff has moved on. But I’m still here and do my best to keep the heart of this community in print.”

State Rep. Bill Buckbee, who has known Rose for many years, called her “a quiet pillar and staple of our community.

“That really goes unnoticed by some...Accessible and knowledgeable of our history, she is an asset to New Milford and every citizen within,” he said. “It’s nice to know that someone who loves the town is at the helm of our community newspaper.”

Outside of the office, Rose has participated in several mission trips, including two major trips to Africa, and she has led numerous Midnight Runs, trips to designated stops in New York City to distribute food, clothing and toiletries to the homeless.

She has held past leadership roles at church and is a past award winner in the New Milford Commission on the Arts’ former poetry contest.