Good columnists are a critical component of a good newspaper.
I have my personal favorites. At the top of my list is the late, great Mike Royko. I'm not from Chicago, but I get the sense that, for Chicagoans, reading Royko was like looking in the mirror. He seemed to know the city so well. He was funny, sarcastic, angry, smart and fearless. Every community newspaper should be so lucky to have a Royko on staff.
When I worked in San Angelo, Texas, columnist Rick Smith was easily the most recognizable media figure in town. Rick was so popular that his column ran three times a week - on the front page. (It still does).
Tom Ross isn't a Steamboat native - he's actually from Wisconsin. But after three decades in Steamboat, he's the closest thing we have to a Royko or a Rick Smith. Not every small newspaper has the luxury of such a veteran. I wish I had a nickel for every time someone has called me and asked, "Can you have Tom Ross do this story?"
Tom started his column in August 2001, shortly after I started as editor. The column has become a reader favorite, because, like Royko and Rick, Tom knows and understands his town and its people as well as anyone.
Tom's column is the most popular part of our Monday newspaper. Everyone knows to expect it on Page 2. That's part of the reason I'm writing today - to let readers know that Tom's column will no longer appear on Mondays.
No worries - we're not discontinuing the column. Rather, we're doubling it. Starting next week, Tom's work will appear on Page 2 on Tuesdays and Saturdays.
In addition to doubling up on Tom, we're adding other columnists. Mike Lawrence will debut his politics and government column next week, and Luke Graham will join John Russell as a sports columnist.
With the additions, readers will find a column in our newspaper every day, usually on Page 2. The new columnist lineup follows:
Sunday: John Russell (sports), Dave Shively (outdoors), Lila Rider (South Routt), Jimmy Westlake (astronomy), Rilla Wiggins (Hahn's Peak).
Monday: Luke Graham (sports) and Monday Medical, which is coordinated by Chris-tine McKelvie of the Yampa Valley Medical Center.
Tuesday: Tom Ross.
Wednesday: Mike Lawrence (politics and government).
Thursday: Scott Stanford (From the Editor).
Friday: Allison Plean (4 Points) and Gardening, which is coordinated by Deb Babcock.
Saturday: Tom Ross.
Columns can add personality to a newspaper, and they challenge journalists to think and write differently. At their best, they are the most memorable parts of a newspaper.
If you have thoughts on our current columnists or ideas on other columns we might add, call or write me.
From the Editor appears Thursdays in Steamboat Today. Send questions to Scott Stanford at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call him at 871-4221.