You’re all invited to the Sedona Red Rock News’ 60th anniversary party on Sept. 20

Christopher Fox Graham
6 Min Read

The Sedona Red Rock News has been the voice of Sedona and the Verde Valley since we published our first edition on Thursday, Oct. 3, 1963.

For the last 59 years and 11 months, we have covered the politics of the city of Sedona and in the unincorpo­rated communities of Oak Creek Canyon, the Village of Oak Creek and the Loop Road areas, and in both Yavapai and Coconino counties; the impact of munic­ipal, school district and fire district government policies on private lives and businesses; the influence, needs, struggles and successes of nonprofits and community groups; the rise and fall of high school sports dynas­ties; and, most importantly, the births, graduations, marriages, hirings, promotions, endeavours, accom­plishments, tragedies, triumphs, retirements, deaths, funerals and celebrations of life of the residents we have called neighbors, friends and members of our family and our community.

Our sister newspapers, whose pages which we build at our newsroom here in Uptown, cover the news in Cottonwood, Clarkdale, Camp Verde, Jerome and the surrounding unincorporated communities through the eyes of reporters and photojournalists who live in those communities, just as our Sedona staffers live here.

Larson Newspapers also published the Cottonwood Journal Extra and The Camp Verde Journal

Robert S. Larson, a second-generation newspaper publisher from Montana, and his wife Loretta Larson moved to Sedona to start the paper in 1963.

Our first edition on Thursday, Oct. 3. 1963

They raised their children Bob, Tommy, Jerry and Elizabeth here, who all went on to work for Larson Newspapers in various capacities — Tommy and Jerry in the press­room, Bob as publisher and current owner and Liz in the Subscriptions Department, Classifieds Department and at our front desk. Bob’s younger son, Kyle, is our current general manager. The Larsons donated to civic organizations and were key figures in getting the city of Sedona incorporated in 1988, as well as working to get the Sedona-Oak Creek School District formed in spite of the legal difficulties of straddling two counties.

The Sedona Red Rock News reported winning 11 state journalism awards in our Oct. 3, 2001, edition.

We are not journalists who write remotely like many in our industry have been relegated to doing in recent years. Instead, we attend meetings, festivals, parties, events, grand openings, retirements and walk-outs in person to speak with officials, those whose govern­ment policies affect and private citizens, like you. We vote here, so council decisions are not merely far-off abstractions but directly affect us too.

In addition to covering the news, sometimes we make the news, such as when we hosted the first-ever formal mayoral debate moderated by Larson Newspapers General Manager Kyle Larson and Mangaging Editor Christopher Fox Graham at the Mary D. Fisher Theater on Oct. 12, 2022.

Some of us are raising or have raised our children here in local schools, so we are as affected by local educational events and policy as anyone we cover.

We report the news that affects you because it affects us, too. We have supported nonprofits too numerous to count with stories and press releases, and offered newspaper space to nonprofits, businesses, candidates, elected officials and private citizens to help them have their say in the community. We offer space for your political opinions, hold officials accountable for their actions and applaud anyone who puts aside self-interest to serve the greater good.

While we’re two weeks shy of our official 60th anniversary — we have a special edition of our news­paper planned for our readers — the Sedona Chamber of Commerce will be hosting its monthly mixer at our newsroom here at 298 Van Deren in Uptown next Wednesday, Sept. 20, from 5 to 6:30 p.m.

You’ll all invited.

The mixer will cost $10 for chamber members and $15 for non-members. There will be food and a cash bar, the proceeds of which will benefit the Sedona International Film Festival, one of our community partners that is both a major contributor to Sedona’s economy and to the art scene as a whole.

Attendees can meet fellow readers, our journalists and staff, local and regional officials, chamber staff and other chamber members and take part in the chamber’s partner raffle that includes gift cards, gift certificates, local hotel stays and tickets to local attractions.

This newspaper has affected everyone in Sedona in some way, whether by publishing a photo of your child on our sports page, you or your friend on our front page, your neighbor in our obituaries or an opinion of the elected official you supported. I met my wife because she used to pass the newsroom on her walk to work and photojournalist Jordan Reece dared me to ask her out. Our three children exist, in part, because of this place.

We’re your community newspaper and continue to thrive because you trust us to bring you the news and stories affecting us all. Come celebrate our 60 years reporting the news in Sedona and the Verde Valley.

Christopher Fox Graham Editorials & Opinions,Opinion

2023-09-15 17:58:40 , Sedona Red Rock News

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