It’s flattering to learn that San Juan County, Utah, Commissioner Phil Lyman believes the Free Press is secretly being financed by Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard and billionaire environmentalist David Bonderman. (See “Legal fees” by Zac Podmore starting on Page 1.) But, whether fortunately or unfortunately, we don’t get any donations from such people and never have. We don’t even have advertising from outdoor-gear companies such as Patagonia, and we’ve never gotten any money from the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, a nonprofit that has earned the ire of a number of folks like Lyman in San Juan County.
But it’s nice to hear that Lyman thinks we must be reaping such a windfall, because it indicates the Free Press must have the aura of a high-class publication, even though he doesn’t find its news coverage to his liking.
Lyman’s remarks come as the Free Press garnered nine awards in the annual Society of Professional Journalists Top of the Rockies competition for work done in 2017. Modesty doesn’t get you anywhere in this world, so we’re going to brag a little.
We’ve been in business almost 15 years, and we’ve won awards throughout that time. Those we picked up at the awards ceremony in Denver on April 20 of this year demonstrate the caliber of work we have in every section of our little newspaper. (A story with the complete list of winners is on Page 12.) There were awards for legal, business, and environmental reporting; investigative/ enterprise reporting; dining and food criticism; and front-page design. We compete against media outlets of all sorts across four states in the “under 10,000 circulation” category.
We were particularly pleased that the Free Press swept the category for personal/humor column writing, taking first, second and third place. We’ve said for a long time that we have the best opinion writers in the Four Corners. In addition to those who won this year (Zach Hively, David Feela, and Gail Binkly), a number of others have won for columns in years past: Katharhynn Heidelberg, John Christian Hopkins, David Long, Suzanne Strazza. And the opinion writers who haven’t (yet) picked up awards are excellent, too. Check them all out.
We have been swimming upstream since our inception. We offer quality, in-depth journalism in a time when people’s attention spans are declining on a daily basis and many spend more time surfing Facebook than keeping up with current events in their local neighborhood and region. But we believe there is an audience out there for something a bit beyond the superficial and fluffy. So as long as you keep reading, we’ll try to keep publishing.
Don’t forget to thank and support our advertisers, because they make everything we do possible.
And if any billionaires do have a little extra dough they’d like to send our way, hey, we’re not opposed to the possibility. But, no, Mr. Lyman, it hasn’t happened yet.