April 6, 2012
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For some reason, this job reminds me of running Crystal Rapids. Crystal is the worst, best rapid in the Grand Canyon and our boatman had been telling us what amounts to campfire ghost stories about this wild series of deep holes crashing into a frothing boulder field for the past 100 miles. Just as we got close enough to hear the ravening roar of the water, the thunderheads that had been gathering themselves for a nervous breakdown since morning unleashed a frenzy of hail punctuated by terrible crashes of lightning. Flinching from the hail and the lightning and staring down into that chaos of water was the best scared I’ve ever been. Well, except maybe the last couple weeks.
Roundup publisher John Naughton this week named Peter Aleshire editor in chief of the award-winning newspaper, following the retirement of editor Tom Brossart. In each of Brossart’s four years as editor, the Arizona Newspaper Association recognized the Roundup as the best non-daily newspaper in the state. Aleshire moves into the position after almost five years as the paper’s news editor during which time the ANA recognized him as the top non-daily newspaper reporter in the state.
Shadows. And shoulders. We stand always in shadows — but also atop shoulders. So suddenly I’m editor, coming out of Tom’s shadow — but standing also on his shoulders. What a marvelous, scary thing — to have responsibility now for the best non-daily newspaper in Arizona. Such potential to bless this great-hearted town and its quirky, bright, kind readers — and such a challenging time in the profession to which Tom — and I — have given our lives. I did not expect to find such treasures when I stumbled into Payson almost five years ago, a bit worse for wear. Tom took me in — offered me a new home.