My mind is still somewhat boggled thinking of this. About one-third of my life has passed since the early traumatic days of the Rocky Mountain Outlook, and I could not have imagined then that it would still be thriving now. In those days I just dreamed of getting through the next payroll period.
We humans try to think about the legacy we are leaving. We hammer in new routes on virgin rock face, we run marathons in hope of notching our names in a record book, we strive for the Olympics and the dream of setting new world records. Hell, we birth children and they become our legacy.
But a weekly newspaper? Lining bird cages?
Well, apparently yes. When you are of that ink-stained ilk whose feet seldom leave the pavement and whose purpose in life is creating the record of front line history that will document the evolution of community.
The earliest days and inception of the Outlook were well recorded in the Decade Magazine in the 10th year – and which I was thrilled to find in the wait room of a local lawyer’s office last week – so I won’t revisit that. We birthed the paper in the immediacy of the 9/11 terrorism attacks that destroyed the local tourism economy and nearly destroyed this newspaper. We nurtured it, we babied it, we watered it regularly and have watched it grow. I only wish my original partners, Bob Schott and Larry Marshall, could be here to celebrate this with me. Both passed in 2008.
Print media has been profoundly battered in this 21st Century world of social media and Wikipedia “research”, but community newspapers continue to soldier on. Who else but a local reporter is bench warming in the marathon local council meetings and school board meetings, the capturing of the minutiae of things that impact you most directly? Or that you might want to reference in 20 years in the bound copies they faithfully preserve?
The world of social media has done an amazing job of knitting together our communities into needs/wants being fulfilled, especially during these pandemic years. The dark side is the unfiltered, unedited opinions finding oxygen and thereafter longevity to become “truth”. This is what editors and professional reporters are for, to sift through the chaff and spot the BS and only give you the legit, not the rumour mill. We do this by verifying with the source, be it a professional in an administrative role or a locally elected politician who has read the reams of background information and can answer a question knowledgeably.
Misinformation and disinformation are the scourges of our 21st Century world.
I retired in 2008 after the deaths of my partners shattered me. Do I miss the game? Only when I spot a particularly egregious typo – said the woman who once ran a 96-point front page headline screaming WOLD CUP – but this paper is in fine hands. The commitment to fine journalism is unwavering, and it continues to serve its communities well. I’m happy to have been able to leave these towns the gift of good journalism. It was well worth the journey.
Carol Picard is one of the co-founders and the first editor of the Rocky Mountain Outlook until 2008. Along with Larry Marshall, the first publisher, and the first sales manager Bob Schott, the newspaper launched Sept. 20, 2001.
To view the first edition of the Rocky Mountain Outlook, visit here.