This week we celebrate 40 years since a throwaway movie guide evolved into a weekly newspaper. A mountain newspaper. A newspaper that covered the everyday events of a small former mining town and the amazing, miraculous stories of the people that inspired and entertained us.
As Nederland, as Western Boulder and Gilpin Counties grew, so did the paper. It started with turning in typewritten stories, photos that had to be half-toned and pasted and doing layout once a week in an office in town.
The paper was packed in its special yellow cardboard box and driven to the printers in Boulder, where the pages were photographed for proofing and then printed.
Photographs were printed from film negatives that were processed in small ventless darkrooms, the prints spread out on the counters to dry.
There were weekly staff meetings over lunch, when everyone would make sure they were on the same page. Getting the paper out every week was stressful. It was also rewarding to know that another deadline was met, another issue started and finished in seven days.
Now, 40 years later, the newspaper is digitally produced, the stories, ads and photographs being sent from computer to computer, from homes and businesses and schools where copy is created. No ink, hot wax, or late nights in the office. The proof is delivered to the printers by pressing a button with a paper airplane on it.
The papers still have to be picked up, inserted with ads, addressed and taken to the post office or the businesses. Those who choose to can get it online.
The community has changed since The Mountain-Ear began but sometimes it seems as if the same issues make the headlines, just different people involved in them.
The paper informs people of new businesses and anniversaries of old businesses, it takes in ads informing readers of services and menus, bands, events, sales, and real estate. It advises people of what happens in town meetings, and what’s new in our prolific non-profit organizations.
The Mountain-Ear prides itself on its coverage of local children, school sports, theater and music productions, achievements and taking pictures of kids who are just plain being adorable.
The paper provides a venue for people to express their opinions and for local columnists to have a voice.
The last 40 years of local history are recorded in the pages of this small local paper. Newspapers everywhere are struggling to stay afloat. The Mountain-Ear has gone up and down and is still here, all grown up, making deadline every week, listening to the voice of the community and sharing that voice with others.
Happy Anniversary from our family to yours!