Colorado on the Web: Old method keeps 'good news paper' publishing

By: Dalton walker, dalton.walker@gazette.com
March 6, 2014 Updated: March 6, 2014 at 8:14 am
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photo - Dalton Walker Friday, October 4, 2013. Photo by Mark Reis, The Gazette
Dalton Walker Friday, October 4, 2013. Photo by Mark Reis, The Gazette 

A newspaper gem lives about a three-hour drive southwest of Colorado Springs in the small town of Saguache.

I've never visited the town of roughly 500, but thanks to a recent CBS Sunday Morning feature, I might find myself visiting one day.

The town is home to the Saguache Crescent, a weekly newspaper that's been around since 1879 and might be the last of its kind. The newspaper still uses linotype to publish and was described as a "virtual time machine" by CBS reporter Barry Petersen.

The newspaper "takes you back a century to a time when every big city daily used linotype machines to set copy," Petersen said. "Now computers do that work, with one exception,"

Of course, that exception is the Saguache Crescent, sometimes known as the "good news paper."

Saguache's own Dean Coombs is a one-man show. He's the newspaper's owner, editor, repairman and everything else related to making sure his newspaper publishes. Yet Coombs' biggest challenge might not be the weekly grind. He's searching for an apprentice to keep the Crescent going for future generations. Coombs doesn't have any children and the newspaper has been in his family since 1917.

"Probably the biggest drawback is that you've got to be committed to it," he told Petersen. "It's got to be your life.

"I always say I don't know anybody I dislike enough to give the Crescent to," Coombs joked.

The linotype machine has 28,000 parts, and Coombs has spare parts stockpiled for when things break down. The video feature is roughly six minutes long and delivers a behind-the-scenes look at the Saguache Crescent.

At least one Colorado Springs resident subscribes. In the CBS feature, Coombs mentions a Crescent was being shipped here.

The feature brings to life Coombs' passion for his family business and newspaper industry. His passion could light a fire for any journalist. It gave me motivation to do better.

Thank you, Mr. Coombs for your excellent work, and I wish you all the best.

Watch the video here

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One last thing: I want all the Colorado on the Web readers to know that I cherish the emails, phone calls and hand-written letters regarding my column and welcoming me to Colorado Springs. Thank you and thanks for reading.

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Have a Colorado on the Web idea? Email dalton.walker@gazette.com or tweet @GazetteDalton.

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