For more information contact:
Ralph Routon: 321/480-8002
John Weiss: 719/271-0404
For Immediate Release
The Independent today announced that Ralph Routon, a former Gazette columnist and editor for more than two decades (1977-2001), will return to his adopted hometown to lead the editorial department of the Pikes Peak region’s largest locally owned newspaper.
“I am absolutely thrilled at the chance to come back to Colorado Springs and join the Independent,” said Routon, 54. “It’s a great paper in a great community that my family and I love.”
Routon, who has spent the past five years at newspapers in Florida and Texas, will assume his new position in January. He said he is “looking forward to carrying on the Independent’s tradition as a feisty, dependable source of quality journalism, provocative commentary, wide-ranging arts and entertainment coverage, and compelling stories on people, issues and causes that matter to the Colorado Springs area.”
“His love of and knowledge about the Pikes Peak region were what made Ralph Routon stand out in a field of more than 80 very strong local and national candidates,” said publisher John Weiss. “His roots are here. His kids are here. He will take our excellent paper to even a higher level.” During his 24 years at the Gazette, Routon developed a well-known presence throughout the Pikes Peak region. A prolific, much-honored sports columnist, Routon also spent one year (1999-2000) as a metro columnist at the daily and during that time won first place in Colorado for general columns from Associated Press.
Since Routon left the Gazette, he has served as editor of the Northwest Florida Daily News, executive editor of the Amarillo (Texas) Globe-News and most recently as sports editor of Florida Today in Melbourne, Fla. At each stop, his staffs have won numerous state awards and several at the national level.
Along the way, Routon also has been involved in extensive community service. While in Colorado Springs, he served seven years as board member of The Arc/Pikes Peak Region, including three years as president. He also was vice president and treasurer of Pikes Peak Partnership, a family of agencies serving people with disabilities. He was honored as that organization’s volunteer of the year. Routon led the campaign that brought minor-league baseball to Colorado Springs in 1988, and he later crusaded for the effort that resulted in building the Colorado Springs World Arena, which opened in 1998. He also first conceived of, and helped develop, the Colorado Springs Sports Hall of Fame. After leaving the area Routon was inducted into the hall of fame in 2003.
In Florida and Texas, he became involved with the United Way, helping determine member agencies’ progress and grants. He also has been honored by Special Olympics and has played an active role in Child Abuse Prevention Month activities.
Ralph Routon will be available in Colorado Springs on December 7 and 8, 2006.
The Colorado Springs Independent is the largest locally owned newspaper in the Pikes Peak region. Founded in 1993, the award winning Independent has been recognized locally, statewide, and nationally for it’s outstanding contributions to journalism and community building, including being named one of the ten best regional publications in the nation by Utne Reader. A member of the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies (AAN), the Independent is the area’s weekly source for news, events and arts and entertainment. The paper is distributed at more than 850 locations and enjoys a readership of more than 104,000.