- Photo by Malcolm Denemark
Things Ralph Routon's looking forward to (in no particular order):
Giving readers something to talk about every week.
Avocado-pork burritos at El Taco Rey.
Reintroducing himself to the people of Colorado Springs.
And according to the Independent's brand-new executive editor, that last point means "being aggressive, edgy, unpredictable; being ornery and having the chance there to really dig in."
Routon, 54, is best known in Colorado Springs for 24 years at the Gazette: 23 as a sports editor and columnist, and one as a Metro columnist.
"I sat beside [former Gazette and Independent columnist Rich] Tosches for that whole year," he says. "That was life experience."
He left in 2001 to take over the newsroom at the Northwest Florida Daily News in Fort Walton Beach. After stints as executive editor of the Amarillo (Texas) Globe-News and sports editor of Florida Today, he's coming back to the place he couldn't help but keep an eye on.
"I grew up in Arkansas," he says, "but Colorado Springs is home."
Beyond his newspaper work in town, Routon has history in the nonprofit community, having served on the board of The Arc of the Pikes Peak Region and also as vice president and treasurer of Pikes Peak Partnership. His wife, Bunny, has worked for the Pikes Peak Library District, and served as president of the Memorial Hospital Auxiliary. And two of his three kids as well as his two grandkids still live in Colorado Springs.
But Routon will be the first to tell you that though he loves the city, it's not perfect and that's part of the reason why he'll be back come January.
"I'm someone who cares about the community not just being a cheerleader for the community, but being somebody who wants it to be a better place."