It’s difficult to write about a friend and colleague who so suddenly and unexpectedly passed from our lives, but it’s important. I heard the news while on vacation last week, and checking my email, I found a message she sent just hours before her passing, just making sure I would be covering something.

I never got the chance to respond.

In a time when too many journalists are leaving the profession – for a variety of reasons – Amber was always eager to learn more and do more to help tell a better story. And she did it all with a sense of humor and a sense that what she was doing was important, whether it was covering an important meeting or writing a funny cutline on a photo.

We lost a gifted young journalist, but my sincere hope is that Amber’s brief but bright light will help encourage more young people to step up into a profession that needs people like her more than ever. She was a positive force for change and a role model for what good reporting should be about, and she will not be forgotten among her many friends, colleagues and readers.

And I think I’ll leave that unanswered message in my email folder for a while.

– Scott De Laruelle