It was the summer of 1979 and Chad Baldwin, just 14 years old at the time, landed a job reporting for his local paper: The Riverton Ranger.

Baldwin rode his beat up 10-speed bicycle around town all summer with a camera bag on his shoulder and a reporter’s notebook stowed in his pocket. He wrote about everything from sports to breaking news. “It was paradise for me actually,” Baldwin recalled. 

People in the tight-knit community knew Baldwin’s family, and by extension him. He’d go on to work at The Ranger full time, then winding his way through several Wyoming news rooms before becoming a spokesperson for the University of Wyoming.

Many Wyoming news figures got their start at The Ranger. Craig Blumenshine, who recently retired as a senior public affairs producer at Wyoming PBS, worked at the paper as a kid, helping produce the “baseball edition,” and later becoming a full-time staff writer. Pat Schmidt worked at The Ranger from 1970-’75 and went on to become the publisher of the Thermopolis Independent Record and a Wyoming Press Association Hall of Fame inductee in 2018. Even Sen. Cale Case (R-Lander), delivered the paper as a boy. 

Former Ranger staffers speak of the newsroom where they began their careers with admiration. At the center of that esteem is the Peck family: the legacy started by brothers Bob and Roy and continued by Bob’s sons, Steve and Chris. 

Riverton Ranger General Manager Robert Stover and Carl Manning of the circulation department work at The Ranger office on Feb.11, 2022. (Sofia Jeremias/WyoFile)

The Peck family’s two-generation run with The Ranger ended, however, in January. That’s when the paper announced the Pecks were selling The Ranger, Lander Journal and Wind River News to local financial adviser Grace Andrus, who moved to Riverton in 2017. 

The paper has undergone a marked change since the sale. Press releases have appeared in full on the front page and long-time followers of the paper noted a hard right turn on the opinion page. At least four staffers have left, including several long-serving reporters. 

In early February, less than a month after the announcement of the first sale, the paper again changed hands. The upheaval has many concerned about the future of Riverton’s local paper. 

“That community deserves a strong local paper as does every community in Wyoming,” Baldwin said. “I’m hoping they can find their footing and carry on the legacy.”

The exodus

Katie Roenigk, a staff writer, was excited when she first heard from The Ranger’s new owner. Andrus told her over the phone that she prized factual, unbiased, reporting, according to Roenigk, a sentiment Roenigk agreed with. 

But then Andrus said she was looking for reporters to approach stories from a different view point, according to Roenigk. Andrus also expressed concern over the reporter’s residence in Idaho, where Roenigk had lived since 2013. Andrus agreed to give it a try despite the distance, Roenigk said, and reemphasized a desire for neutral stories.

The next day, Andrus sent Roenigk an email letting her know she would be paid for only two more weeks of work, she said. 

“The thought of a newspaper having a political agenda, either left leaning or right leaning, is just very sad to me and I’m afraid the Ranger may be falling into that category. ”

Craig Blumenshine

Andrus declined to meet or talk to WyoFile for this story. She did send an email noting she heard a WyoFile reporter was looking into whether she had fired staff. “…Someone from your establishment is saying that I, owner of The Ranger, Journal, and Wind River, have laid off reporters,” she wrote. “That is untrue and your source is incorrect. Please be cautious on spreading fake news.”

The week Andrus acquired the paper, Claire Manning, the paginator, put in her notice, according to Manning. Manning said she clashed with Andrus over layout and proper attribution of articles.

Clair McFarland, crime reporter for The Ranger, wrote a column announcing her notice a few weeks later. In the column, she wrote she was leaving the paper to pursue a master’s degree in English Literature. 

Randy Tucker, who reported on local sports and wrote columns for the paper for 27 years, announced on Facebook that he resigned Feb. 8. In the post Tucker wrote, “Honesty, truth, and integrity matter to me, and I can’t in good conscience continue with this organization.”

The empty newsroom of the Riverton Ranger, which has been struggling to hire new reporters. (Sofia Jeremias/WyoFile)

When reached by phone the day before his resignation, Tucker said, “I like to write, be part of the community, when I can.” He wasn’t sure if he’d leave The Ranger at the time because he felt passionate about covering local sports, he said, although wasn’t pleased with the direction the paper had taken.

“We’re not doing any really legitimate journalism, aside from features and sports,” Tucker said. “Everything that’s coming online has to be from a decidedly right-wing viewpoint to be run.” 

The changes

In the Jan. 30 edition of The Ranger, Andrus published an editorial titled “Unconscious Bias.” In the column she wrote, “there may be people in the community who are fierce supporters of my predecessor in this media business. These individuals, due to their conscious or unconscious bias, will not approve of any change in procedure or content.” 

Andrus didn’t name names, but may have been referencing concerns voiced by former staffers and others.

“It looks a lot different, doesn’t look as good anymore,” Baldwin remarked of Andrus’s paper. 

“It’s like a middle school newsletter,” Manning said. 

“I’m proud that in my history at The Ranger, there was never an implied political agenda,” Blumenshine said. “The thought of a newspaper having a political agenda, either left leaning or right leaning, is just very sad to me and I’m afraid The Ranger may be falling into that category. ”

Numerous Wyoming Press Association awards are displayed at The Ranger’s office in Riverton (Sofia Jeremias/WyoFile)

Many former Ranger employees felt the paper’s opinion pages had taken a noticeable swing to the far right, and the layout was now riddled with errors. 

The Sunday, Jan. 23 paper, for instance, included an item titled “Federal Judge blocks Biden vaccine mandate” with the byline “From Press Release.” The release stated, “A federal judge has agreed with the same arguments Harriet Hageman has been making in court that President Joe Biden does not have the authority to order federal employees to take the coronavirus vaccine.” 

Other oddities included a front page press release from the Wyoming Department of Transportation announcing a public meeting that occurred roughly three weeks prior. 

A Wyoming News Exchange story from the Gillette News Record was also listed as a “Special to the Ranger,” an attribution that Manning recalls explaining to Andrus was inaccurate.

Many critics pointed to a story that also ran on Jan. 23 as a top concern. The headline “Zwonitzer under investigation for gerrymandering,” with the byline, “Staff Reports,” ran a day before Wyoming GOP Chairman Frank Eathorne emailed a complaint to the Secretary of State’s office and a day after the Republican Party State Central Committee voted to file the complaint accusing Rep. Dan Zwonitzer (R-Cheyenne) of living outside his legislative district. Zwonitzer has denied the allegations. 

Sen. Case shared an unsent letter he addressed to the new editor of the Lander Journal, which also ran the Zwonitzer piece on its front page. “I think you pre-printed propaganda from the Republican Party State Central Committee,” Case wrote. “Shame on you. To not verify news sources; to not talk to anybody involved; and to add an innuendo about Fremont County. Shame on you.”

“This was not thoughtful,” he told WyoFile. Case also wondered why the article ran under the anonymous “Staff Reports” instead of an accountable  reporter’s byline. 

He ultimately wants the new owners to find their footing. “I hope they succeed,” he said. “I love print and I love local journalism.”

The Peck family acquired the Lander Journal and Wind River News in 1999. (Sofia Jeremias/WyoFile)

Another sale

On Feb. 8, nearly one month after the news of Andrus’ acquisition of The Ranger was printed, another announcement appeared above the fold. Andrus was transferring ownership of The Ranger, Lander Journal and Wind River News “to employees.” The initial announcement of The Ranger’s sale to Andrus foreshadowed this move, noting that “she intends in approximately one month to transfer The Ranger into its employees’ hands, as an employee-owned company.”

In fact, Andrus transferred her stake in the three publications to Edwards Group Holdings, a company that instituted an employee-stock-ownership plan in August. 

“They build up a retirement plan, but they don’t have to pay into it,” Jerry Edwards, CEO of Edwards Group Holdings, said of employees. “So the better they do at their job, and the better the company does, the more money they end up making.”

Employees must be vested for five years before they receive 100% of their Edwards Group stock. “There’s not a percentage of the company they own,” Edwards said and he personally does not have a controlling stake in the private company.

Employees also have representation on the Edwards Group Holdings in the form of an employee stock ownership plan trustee. “He really doesn’t have voting rights, but he has what we call veto power,” Edwards said of the ESOP trustee. “He can stop something if he thinks it’s going to hurt the employees.”

Edwards Group Holdings employs over 120 people and owns 16 radio stations and 13 publications across the U.S., according to Edwards, who lives in South Carolina. Five of those radio stations are in Wyoming including, KVOV, dubbed “The Talk of Fremont County,” which relies heavily on conservative opinion programming, airing, for example, Sean Hannity from 1-4 p.m. on weekdays per the Edwards Group web page. 

Manning, the former Ranger paginator, was upset when Andrus introduced Edwards as a consultant to the paper, she told WyoFile before the second sale was announced. “He’s always been kind of a thorn in the side of the paper,” she said. “He was always offering bullshit offers to buy things.”

Edwards confirmed he offered to purchase The Ranger in the past, but the Pecks were not interested at the time.

When WyoFile asked Andrus via email if transferring ownership to the Edwards Group was part of the plan when she initially purchased the paper, she did not respond to the question, and instead referred WyoFile to the story published in The Ranger announcing the sale to employees. 

The empty desk of Grace Andrus, the local financial adviser who purchased The Ranger from the Peck family. (Sofia Jeremias/WyoFile)

Chris Peck, one of the previous Ranger owners, declined to comment, citing a non-disclosure agreement he signed at the time of the sale. He would only confirm that he and his brother, Steve Peck, owned the paper and sold it to Grace Andrus. 

The article announcing the initial sale noted, “The other reason he’s choosing to sell now, said Peck, is that the buyer finally is right – a local person who wants to be involved in local media rather than an outside ‘absorber’ of local business with no ties or interest in the community.” 

A venerable past, an uncertain future

“You had a pair of brothers who came back from World War II, hung their hats in Riverton, and made a go at the community’s newspaper. They believed that a newspaper was the heart of the community, and I think they were right,” Blumenshine said.

The Peck family’s legacy is formidable. Bob and Roy Peck — the brothers Blumenshine referred to and founders of The Ranger — are both Wyoming Press Association Hall of Fame inductees. Bob Peck served as a state senator and supported a variety of projects — from the Central Wyoming Regional Airport to Central Wyoming College to uranium mining efforts — that he believed would improve the economy in Riverton, according to Dave Perry, who worked as both a reporter and then managing editor at The Ranger between 1978 and 1995. 

“Bob used to say that The Ranger wasn’t the biggest business in town and it didn’t make the most money, but it was the most important business in the community,” Perry said. “We always wanted to tell our community’s story better than anyone else did.”

Former reporters also spoke highly of Steve Peck, his commitment to journalistic ethics and focus on telling local stories. Resources were fewer during his tenure as publisher, and he had to contend with the general decline of the newspaper industry, yet The Ranger won numerous Wyoming Press Association awards, according to former staffers. 

Edwards said he plans to invest in The Ranger with new equipment, more color capacity to the presses and new computers. He intends to remodel The Ranger offices and include additional page sections. He said in the past the paper ran too many wire stories, and going forward it will be focusing “very hard” on sports and local events. It needs to hire more staff, which has been difficult, Edwards said. 

The archives of The Ranger are housed in the basement of the office building. (Sofia Jeremias/WyoFile)

The editorial direction will trend more conservative, better reflecting the Riverton community, Edwards said. “The editorial direction previously was extremely one-sided. And we’re not that way. We’re balanced.” In the past, “opinion ended up on this paper in different places,” he said, and that will change, with Andrus remaining as publisher.

Former Ranger employees don’t agree that opinion made its way into reporting. 

Pat Schmidt, who worked at The Ranger from 1970 to 1975, said Bob and Roy Peck were both “very fair minded” and very active in the Republican Party. 

Baldwin, who worked at the paper full time from 1988 to 2001, said divisive issues like water rights were covered “objectively and effectively.” According to Roenigk, who reported for the paper until 2022, “The journalistic ethics of the newspaper were solid, and integrity was prized.”

What will it take for The Ranger to succeed in the community? According to Baldwin, the new owner, whoever that might be, will fare best if he or she is  “being supportive and letting the journalists do their jobs.”

Sofia Jeremias reports on healthcare, education and the economy in Wyoming. She received her master's degree from the Columbia Journalism School and previously reported on the West for Deseret News.

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  1. When my parents moved to Pavillion in 1964, they occasionally bought the Ranger at the Basketeria in Pavillion, then subscribed to what was then a very full, very interesting paper. One that published award-winning stories, sometimes painful to read, sometimes slightly controversial-I remember one about a murder with rather a lot of detail.
    As time went on, the paper got thinner, then less frequent.
    Did this mean that the community was smaller? That less was taking place?
    Recently, the paper that shows up in my mom’s box is not worth getting. It isn’t big enough to line a box for orphan lambs, the “news” isn’t, even the classifieds section is small.
    And yes, it is biased.
    As a newspaper, it fails.
    My mother, a subscriber for lord knows how long, debates dropping it. She doesn’t, for loyalty.
    But her loyalty was to the Pecks.

  2. My mother Pearl Todd, worked for the Peck brothers at the newspaper during the 1950s and 60s. The Pecks seemed able to be friends as well as bosses of their employees and produced a great local paper, which had lot’s of local news relating to it’s readers.. It is sort of sad to see that kind of relationship lost in modern ways and technology.

  3. My heart breaks. I began my career at the Ranger in 1984 after moving to Wyoming from the Chicago area. I loved working there as a reporter. I learned so much and my experiences shaped me in so many ways. I’m truly sorry that the Ranger is no longer owned by the Pecks but I suppose it was inevitable. The only thing that doesn’t change is change itself.

  4. Wyofile might do some investigation of the take over of newspapers by out of town concerns. Sixty Minutes had an expose of the national trend of newspapers nationally being taken over by conglomerates. Twenty-six newspapers in Wyoming have been taken over by New Media Corporation. If you look up the who the owners are it says they are owned by a family concern. They also own several rural newspapers throughout the US. I asked the local newspaper if Rupert Murdock might be the family they are referring to. They would not deny that Murdock was the owner of News Media Corporation. When the Uinta County Herald was bought I noticed that the newspaper changed from a bipartisan newspaper to one leaning heavily Republican. Most of those like the the Ranger get most of their revenue from legals. The counties and cities publish their legals and the revenue from local advertisers drop. Local news disappears. If you check you will find out that the legals costs are a lot more expensive than other customers. Pinedale allowed the legals to be published in a non-News Media publication and was sued by the News Media Corp. Wyofile has become a fresh news source. Congratulations and thank you.

  5. Much ado about nothing as far as I am concerned. I tried the Ranger a couple of times and gave up on it (once under the old man, then under the son). In the first place, I have no use for noozepaper monopolies. In the second, I dislike right-wing media, much as it may pretend to be “fair”.

    Good riddance.

  6. Interesting. Another excellent WyoFile. And a great public conversation to boot.

    It doesn’t look good for our Lander Journal et al. The new owner(s) are not doing us old fashioned print readers any favors. Unless they can really step it up journalism-wise, and probably go online.

    Another local Wyoming news source they are going to have to compete with is the Cowboy State Daily: They seem well staffed, well written, unbiased, and comprehensive.

    I love paper, but I guess it has to go.

  7. Paper derived news media have financially taken it in the shorts for the past several years. I’ll bet the Peak’s wish they would’ve sold out years ago because now, to peddle a local Wyoming paper, the best you could do would be cents to the dollar of it’s previous worth. Besides, why should anybody care who sold the paper, who bought the paper and who they may have turned around and sold it to? If you’re so concerned, perhaps you should have purchased it!? I’ll bet of a couple of County 11 papers would of been on the auction block (and sold) a few years back. Now, both are hurting and the quality of journalism (though never great) is really suffering……you can hold each bi-weekly issue in the sky, look through them and see the sun. I’ll bet these publications could be bought right now….cheap

    1. Scott Davidson, who bought the Ranger papers is important for a variety of reasons.
      First, had the Pecks known Andrus was going to promptly hand over their papers to Jerry Edwards they never would have sold to her, preferring instead to wait for a better, “local,” more experienced newspaper person. Someone who truly understands journalism.
      The Pecks also would not have wanted to hand Edwards a near-monopoly on print and radio advertising in Fremont County by marrying the Peck papers and Edwards radio stations. Andrus probably had no understanding of what she was enabling when she basically created that monopoly.
      The Pecks also would have expected candor and transparency from their buyer – and not to be subjected to a secret proxy deal that puts their life’s work in a place they surely disapprove of.
      So, yes, the details of who really bought the papers is important to Fremont County people and businesses.

  8. My Mother, Pearl Todd, worked at the Ranger in the 50s and 60s. The Ranger was a big part of Fremont County in those days. We had radio, but no TV, so we depended on the Ranger for local news. Sorry to see the Pecks gone now.

  9. But the Peck Family newspaper legacy lives on in Wyoming. My brother, David Peck, still practices the community journalism taught to him by our father Roy, and uncle Bob Peck, as he publishes three newspapers in Big Horn County. He cut his teeth before and after college at the Ranger under Carolyn Tyler, Dave Perry and other editors, mentors and colleagues.

    David, though not mentioned in this article, has published the Lovell Chronicle since the mid-80’s, and later acquired the Basin Republican-Rustler and Greybull Standard from another branch of the family newspaper tree, Eric and Linda Adams. It was a template that my father and uncle repeated many times, giving journalists a stake in publishing their own community newspapers in Riverton, Lander, Thermopolis, Lovell, Basin, Greybull, Powell, Afton, Kemmerer, Dubois, Shoshoni and Red Lodge and Hardin, MT. The immediate sale of the Ranger to a third party was not anticipated by Steve.

    The comments section of this article suggests that a few people remain who understand the concept of impartial journalism that was central to my family’s practice of the craft. Alas, the “mission statement” of Ms Andrus’ new publication, Wyoming Conservative Chronicle, well-represents her own confusion on the subject of impartial journalism: “Working to present Verified Facts from Multiple Viewpoints so Readers can make their Own Informed Decisions. Conservative Voices can be shared as opinions among other likeminded individuals.” This says it all, poorly.

    I should note that all I’ve written here is my own opinion and I have not personally had any stake in the newspapers Ms Andrus bought and sold this month since the mid-80’s.

    1. One of the things that I noticed when moving to the Greybull area was the fact our paper was published by the Pecks, so I felt “at home”.

    2. Bravo! All very good points – thank you to all members of the Peck family for their worthy contributions to Fremont County media.

  10. A local newspaper needs to be unbiased. I want to read local stories. I do not want to see opinions printed on the front page, in the name of “news”.

  11. A $15 donation to Lander-based WYOFILE probably gets Fremont County better journalism than any newspaper. Support that.

    Social media covers local sports and gossip. Horoscopes, classifieds and political shooting matches are online 24/7. Much of the local news is online long before it makes it into print. Do small subscription-based newspapers have a future?

    Many small town newspapers in Wyoming are simply, by design, an extension of the Chamber of Commerce. They are an advertising medium disguised as a critical forth estate. I have read most of them. Their self-aggrandized sense of importance rarely matched reality in print. The real value was always as a central depository of community events, a recorder of community life, and as a place to talk about the community’s future. Now, much of that can be done without a printed paper as WYOFILE proves.

    The old gatekeepers no longer have exclusive control of the narrative, the news, or advertising. The Fremont County newspapers needed an overhaul and a brand new vision going forward. It may look like or WYOFILE, or something else. One thing for sure, it has to pay the bills. Some things never change. If it can’t pay the bills, then readers and advertisers have decided its future.

  12. This is totally tragic.
    I’ll address it by dropping back and putting on the wide angle lens. The number of smalltown and smaller metro newspapers nationwide being savaged by the likes of vulture capitalists and predatory investors is endemic . Even the giant media houses are not immune . Traditional newsgathering is under attack from all sides , below, and above.
    A very sad bad epidemic of exploitation , because communities are losing their vital information channels to greed and special interests. Newspapers used to be the connective tissue of communities large and small. But beginning late in the 20th century they became the targets of speculative investors when the collective business model made a horrible transition . Newspapers went from being nonprofit public servants dedicated to solid defensible agnostic journalism to For Profit monetized corporate manipulators rewarding stockholders at the expense of mainstream media services. Underreporting, nonreporting , censorshippery, or worst of all agenda driven manufacturing of News For Profit became the broader norm.

    It didn’t help that this occurred just as the entire human race was transitioning from analog to digital ; from brick and mortar to server farms ; when vast amounts of money can be moved instantly with a couple of mouse clicks. Everyone has an opinion on the news media these days , mostly negative. Unfortunately those opinions come from folks who have no idea how newsgathering works; what it takes to produce good journalism . The ecosystem of grassroots sustainable news reporting also got overrun with the weeds of social media at the same time. Since assigning blame is du rigeur these days, start with Rupert Murdoch and Mark Zueckerberg and work your way out from there.

    Even mostly rural, colloquial , isolated Wyoming is not immune to the proliferation of predatory For Profit publishing shenanigans. This article is testament.

    JPEGs at 11.

  13. Grace Andrus declines to be transparent about whether or not she was an undisclosed proxy buyer for Jerry Edwards during the eight months she and Pecks negotiated the Ranger company sale.
    But it sure looks like Edwards – probably the last person the Pecks would have ever sold to – found a work-around for that situation in the form of Andrus.
    None of which would necessarily matter so much if the paper wasn’t stumbling and fumbling so badly ever since Andrus/Edwards took over.
    And, unfortunately, the only person of those two who knows anything about newspaper publishing lives in South Carolina.

  14. On the plus side .. as sad as it is, local newspapers and local journalism are in their death knell. More and more, local papers and radio are becoming bulletins for one sided conservative consumers to reinforce their confirmation bias. Packaged for folks living in a closed social and political bubble isolated from the broader community. Evidence suggests that that they are doomed to disappear as viable businesses.

  15. Chad Baldwin was the grandson of Mel and Esta Baldwin that had the been the owners of the Uinta County Herald. He ended up in Riverton when his dad moved there and was the superintendent of the high school. Chad grew up with ink in his bloodstream handed down from his grandparents. Mel and Esta sold their newspaper to News Media Corporation bought out several newspapers all over Wyoming and the United States. News Media is a far-right newspaper conglomerate that spews right-wing propaganda in small communities. They fund their existence mainly by selling legal notices for municipalities and counties funded by public monies. It sounds like Riverton had fallen to the same kind of people. It is no wonder that Wyoming is so far right considering they get their information from these sources.

  16. It seems to me that what we as a nation experiencing in the Republican Party is a circular firing squad. While the Ranger was balanced in most cases (not all but mostly) it did get the Republican Party message out clearly in an unbiased manner.

    That Steve Peck described a three year resident as local, when I as a twenty year plus resident on the early 2000s as not really truly local, in print over a matter of the museum board, makes me choke on the hipocracy of the rationalization for the sale of the paper. I left after thirty-two years in the country, after having been a business owner at one time with Randy Tucker, a school board member along with Jerry of Jerry’s Flowers, Carl Manning, and along with many other connections served with Craig Blumenshine on the steering committee fighting against the siting of the medium security prison in Riverton… Formed the Wyoming BBS in my home which became with its original servers and data lines running into my basement.

    So permit me to cast a dubious eye on the deal that made the sale.

  17. What if these changes resulted in a better mix of news and conversation in Wyoming? We have either conservative talk radio OR leftist newspapers. I have looked for alternatives but they seem to be hiding in the weeds. There used to be shows on TV where you would have spirited debate. You had opinion pieces in newspapers that bucked the trend and fed the other side a little red meat so the readers would stay engaged. Now it is just pummel the audience with one point of view and see who stays for the next round of punches. We have to do better as a society.

    1. If the recent editions of the Ranger/Journal are any indication it is not going to be a better mix of news and conversation but yet another mouthpiece for the right wing noise machine. In past years Ranger/Journal readers were never pummeled with one point of view. Sorry Bob, but there are no leftist newspapers in Wyoming. In the view of conservatives, any media source that does not repeat right wing talking ad nauseum is guilty of “liberal bias”

      1. You have a right to your own opinion, but not your own facts. These eyes work. These ears work. I read and I listen. No one tells me what to think. I don’t listen to talk radio and frankly every newspaper is a disappointment. My comprehension level is 98%, so I see errors everywhere. I disagree with everyone most of the time. My opinions evolve. My positions change based on new information that I consider for a while and often research myself via other sources before I accept it as true. I had good teachers and I read at a college level from a very young age. I have lived with groups of friends who had spirited conversations about current events. Most of my friends were Democrats and so was I. There were conservatives in the group and things got uncomfortable at times but always civil.
        That environment of healthy discourse I loved no longer exists. Conservatives are supposed to shut up and let the Democrat talking points rule the conversation with no disagreement. But those talking points are not civil or mature, and often don’t make sense to me. Your comment is a great example. Right Wing Talking… Right Wing Noise machine… Do you listen to yourself?
        This sloganeering is insulting and just exactly what I am talking about. Where do people learn to be so condescending? You cannot succeed in changing minds or even reaching a middle ground if you can’t be reasonable. How is the other party going to weigh your opinion without being automatically turned off and ready to trade insult for insult? Is that a good time, or even productive? No. Let’s start over.

        1. Bob- like too many folks who have strong ( mostly negative ) opinions of journalism these days , you have no grasp of the newsgathering and dissemination process. Most critics of popular news media are not capable of separating wheat from chaff. I see that in your own running commentary day in and day out. And nearly everywhere else I look these days, so don’t take it personal. The internet was a Mag 10 seismic shift in journalism. Buildings toppled, casualties are huge. No industry or endeavour has suffered more from trying to survive the consequences of the internet than mainstream mom and pop journalism. It doesn’t help that people who do not see their personal opinion and belief systems reflected in the stories on their screen will automatically condemn ” the liberal know nothing media” for not providing you worthy words. A journalist should not care what you think or want to read. They’ve got more important considerations, always.
          Just me to you here, as a semi-retired lifelong photojournalist with a six decade supply of ink and electrons in my veins, I disagree with nearly everything you just said here…

        2. Do you listen to yourself? I’ll direct that back to you Bob.
          Your history of comments that uncritically repeat sweeping generalizations about progressives or democrats undermines your attempt to portray yourself as so fair minded and reasonable. You say you don’t listen to talk radio yet you repeat talking points that can regularly be heard there. There’s nothing condescending about calling the right wing noise machine what it is

        3. I could not be more pleased with the way folks prove me right time and again. Simply no sense of self-awareness. You are such beautiful flawless people.
          But it is a burnout when egos are more important than facts. A real burnout.
          So fake. Like the Music Man selling Band Uniforms to small town families.
          History is an unforgiving teacher. I am that teacher.
          You can thank Slick Willie Clinton for the change in the law that allowed conglomerates to buy up all the media in this country and create a handful of leviathans. You remember him? The guy who changed the law so wealthy investment bankers could once again roll the dice with your supposedly secure deposits like they had in the roaring 20s. How did that work out?
          FDR and JFK would be disgusted on so many levels. MLK was a Republican because he saw the leftist scam for what it is. Most of us who left the Democratic Party due to the corruption and obvious lies have a clear perspective and trust no party. We judge all. We are the liberals. Not you. We don’t love Big Brother.

          1. On the contrary Bob you just proved me right with your ridiculous claim that Bill Clinton alone was responsible for the repeal of the Glass Steagal act. The final version of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act passed the House by a vote of 362-57 and the Senate by a vote of 90-8. This made the bill “veto proof”, meaning that if Clinton had decided to veto, the bill would have been passed anyways.
            What were you saying about ego being more important than fact?

          2. I will agree with you in that establishment Republicans are pigs just like the Dems. No argument there. The Bush family dominated the party back then and they should all be in jail. I would love to see the anti-trust laws of Teddy Roosevelt (R) applied to break up these dishonest corporations. They are the Robber Barons of our time. But they fund the Democrats, who serve them loyally. So that won’t happen.

  18. This is an incredibly sad situation. The Peck family could have been known as the “Integrity Family”. No one should place blame on them for wanting to sell their paper and retire. Running a newspaper is hard work and so is keeping journalism fair and balanced, and the Peck family of newspapers did both. It is truly a disgrace for the new owners of the Riverton Ranger and Lander Journal to use theses two papers for right wing propaganda. Despicable!

  19. “The editorial direction will trend more conservative, better reflecting the Riverton community, Edwards said. “The editorial direction previously was extremely one-sided. And we’re not that way. We’re balanced.” ” – saying you’ll “trend more conservative” is not being balanced.

  20. Thank you for this well-written expose’ of what has happened to my local home-town newspaper. It’s so sad. I, along with my friends, were trying to figure out what had happened and why. I viewed the Riverton Ranger as slanted to the conservative side under Steve Peck, but he was ethical and kept news and editorials separate unlike what happened after the sale. I can hope that the recent change can be reversed for the sake of the community and for the sake of truth.

  21. Terrific reporting and, as Ben Gose notes, a much-needed story. Takeovers of local papers by right-wingers has become all too common all over the country, and shame on the Pecks for allowing this to happen to ours. While the Lander Journal has often seemed like a middle-school effort, its news and features rife with lazy reporting, typos and grammatical errors, its sports reporting was excellent, a few of its news reporters were diligent and skilled and its political bias seldom showed. RIP print journalism in Fremont County. Thanks the gods for WyoFile.

  22. I want to point out that there is good news on this front: Wyoming has a fantastic online newspaper that has reported on the issue. WYOFILE. Maybe not quite the same thing as a good old fashioned paper newspaper but with a new reporter from the Columbia Journalism School.

  23. I need to ad a comment. I have known the Peck family for all of the fifty years I have lived in Fremont county. In all those years they have contributed their lives and finances to better the community. There is no way that they could have known that the paper was going to go to out of state owners.

  24. Excellent and much-needed story. It’s absurd to accuse the Pecks of liberal bias, unless your worldview comes from a Proud Boys bunker. New ownership seems intent on taking a long-standing paper that was doing the best it could and driving it into the ground. As usual, Cale Case comes through with a quote that sums up the whole situation well.

  25. This is ever so sad. I feel the Peck sons have deceived the people of Fremont County. They signed a non disclosure agreement which tells me they knew out of state people were buying the news media of our county. I feel deeply betrayed. This follows the many real estate purchases of large ranches by big money. Wyoming is for sale…………….

  26. Welcome to the new and improved Wyoming. Long live the king (WYGOP)! If you don’t like it, get out.

    RIP Truth, Love, and Integrity