One for the road

We've heard it all, here at the Telegraph .

The first rumor to hit was that the Herald had started a weekly to simulate a little competition. Called the Durango Telegraph , it would have a conservative political bent.

A few weeks after the Telegraph hit the streets, a new rumor replaced it. The word was that the new weekly was no more than a money laundering operation for a Telluride druglord.

My personal favorite has been the lingering rumor of how Missy and I are more than business partners and actually a husband-wife publishing team. This one's been taken to outrageous ends. I've heard how we conceived our love child Baxter in a fit of pagemaking passion, the act taking place as we also worked to birth the first issue of the Telegraph . It was a great tale of suspense, betrayal and intrigue, but, like all the others, was untrue. Sorry, Durango.

Two weeks ago, another rumor landed on my lap when I answered a call from my wife, Rachael's, boss. (Sorry, Missy. I've been meaning to tell you. The rumors are true. I'm married to another woman.)

"When are you guys leaving!?" my wife's boss asked frantically.

Apparently, I'd sent a campus-wide e-mail at Fort Lewis College that supposedly explained how my share of the Telegraph was up for sale and that I was relocating the family outside the area.

"When is Rachael giving notice?" she asked. "What's going to happen to the paper?"

I talked her down, eventually dispelling the rumor with a little honesty. (For those of you who also received that "campus-wide e-mail," we're not leaving the area, the Telegraph is not for sale, and Missy and I are not and have never been married.)

But there was a shade of truth in that most recent rumor. The Durango Telegraph loses a key element this week. As virtually everyone who has darkened a finger on this newsprint already knows, this is Jen Reeder's last edition with the Telegraph .

This paper was born out of the fire and ashes of the summer of 2002. After one of the weakest tourism seasons ever, it goes without saying that people were hesitant to advertise. We also faced a lack of faith from potential staffers. As Missy and I started putting our vision down on paper and making this weekly a reality, help was in desperately short supply.

"I just want to work somewhere that's going to be around in a few months," one prospect informed us.

Another took the job, only to not show up to work the next week. He finally left a phone message, telling us that he'd opted for stability and another job.

And then along came Jen, who saw the Telegraph as a piece of crazy genius. During a time when people were saying, "It'll never work" and "No one can take on the Herald ," Jen was hitting the streets and coaxing our print bill out of a war-torn business community. In the meantime, she also wrote articles, dispelled rumors (an invaluable service), took trips to far flung locales in search of advertising, helped with production, handled grievances and ensured we were making good use of our trade with Ska Brewing. When we had squeezed the last few dollars out of our loan and the remaining winter months looked bleak, Jen helped buoy us up. A month later and well before spring, the Telegraph was breaking even.

Fittingly, Jen has gone by many titles during her time here. Officially, she's been known as "Advertising Specialist" and "Staff Writer." She's also been proofreader, pinch photographer, pinch editor, pinch publisher, delivery schlep, bar maid, counselor and friend. Perhaps the most fitting title was bestowed on-air during a recent KSUT fund drive, when she was christened "Number Three."

It's now been more than two years since "Number Three" first came to work here at the Telegraph and she leaves us on more than solid ground. I could easily say something cliche like the paper won't be the same without Jen. That's a given. It's more truthful to note that the Telegraph wouldn't be without Jen.

Thanks for making this wild ride possible.

Will Sands




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