Ralph Routon announces move to executive editor emeritus

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Ralph Routon
  • Ralph Routon
Ralph Routon, award-winning journalist and executive editor of the Colorado Publishing House, the Independent's parent company, has announced he will retire on Sept. 27.

While he still plans to contribute to our family of newspapers in the coming years, and help out as needed, his new title will be executive editor emeritus, and he plans to spend most of his time enjoying his family and friends, traveling, and exploring Manitou Springs and Colorado Springs. His wife, Bunny, is surely glad that she'll be seeing more of him.

Ralph was raised in Hope, Arkansas — the same hometown as Bill Clinton and Mike Huckabee. Early in his career, he was sports news editor for the Arkansas Gazette and sports editor of the Arkansas Democrat, before spending the bulk of his career at the Gazette in Colorado Springs as a sports editor and columnist from 1977 to 2001. When he left the Gazette in 2001, he served as editor of the Northwest Florida Daily News, executive editor of the Amarillo Globe-News and sports editor of Florida Today. But Ralph loved Colorado Springs, and was happy to return to work for the Indy in 2006.

Indy publisher Carrie Simison and Colorado Springs Business Journal Editor & COO Amy Sweet sent out a statement on Ralph's retirement via email today, saying:

Without Ralph’s guidance, dedication, expertise and love of this community, the publications would not be the papers they are today. We are forever grateful to Ralph for his leadership and mentorship. Our congratulations and unending gratitude go to Ralph as he starts this next chapter of his life! 

Ralph hired me back in 2007, when he was the editor of the Indy.

He was already a legend in this city, and when I was first starting out here, I remember that when I told people I worked for the Indy, often the first words out of their mouths were, "Oh, do you work for Ralph?"

At that point, many people knew him for his sports writing — no sports fanatic can ever help asking him his thoughts on the home team — but Ralph is a newshound and a hell of a columnist too. Working for him has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.

Ralph is good at this job because he cares about it. He cares about people. He cares about journalism. And he cares about this city. At points, I have been convinced that he must know everyone in this city and probably everything about the city's history too. He has always been there with a great contact or tip, a word of encouragement, or a pat on the back. Indy Senior Reporter Pam Zubeck told me today, that when Ralph told her "your story is strong" it felt like the ultimate compliment. She's right. It did.

Ralph has always been a journalist's journalist, the type of editor I always imagined having — one who made all of us feel like we were fighting the good fight, by acting as the eyes and ears of the people. He never lost sight of the fact that what we do is a service and a mission.

When our parent company, the Colorado Publishing House, brought on the Colorado Springs Business Journal, Ralph was tapped as the talent to handle that transition and lead the paper. Since then, he's worn many hats, including  publisher of the Pikes Peak Bulletin and executive editor of the company. And, of course, he's helped us out at the Indy, and written his "Between the Lines" column.

Despite having many responsibilities, Ralph has remained the mentor he always was: the type of guy who always had the time to listen to your question or problem and offer sage advice. He always made you feel as though yours was the most important problem — even though we knew he worked long hours.

We are all going to miss having Ralph around the office. On the announcement of his parting today, Ralph shared this letter with me:

This voyage began in December 2006 and has lasted going on 11 years. It has been rewarding in so many ways, guiding and impacting all the papers along the way, editing and writing. I owe deep thanks to John Weiss for the opportunity to return to Colorado Springs, first with just the Independent, then adding CSBJ in 2012 and the Bulletin in 2014.

It’s been wonderful to wrap up 45-plus years of continuous newspaper experiences by working with such great people dedicated to keeping our readers informed, making this a better place and our papers as influential as they can be.

Now, to be honest, it’s simply nice to have a happy ending.
Speaking for all of us a the Indy, I want to thank Ralph for everything he's done for each of us, and for our newspaper. Thanks for your contribution to journalism, and to making our community a better place. Thanks for your patience and wisdom, and for making me feel like I had some chance of winning the office NCAA brackets.

Congratulations on your happy ending.

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