EDITORIAL: Farewell from Andrew Zwicker

Andrew Zwicker
By Andrew Zwicker
September 13th, 2011

For my entire working career, I’ve been inspired by bold ideas and values based projects that aim to truly make a difference. That is why it is with both pride,  excitement, optimism and a small sense of loss that I announce to you, our loyal readers that this week will be my last story with The Rossland Telegraph and Lone Sheep Publishing as writer, editor, co-founder and co-owner as I move on to new projects.


It was mid-August 2008, following a meeting with David Livingstone for a completely unrelated project when I noted that I was working on a writing project and he responded that he too had a writing project in mind. Two months later with Adrian Barnes also on board for the ride the three of us got to work and officially founded, then published the inaugural edition of the Rossland Telegraph on October 9th 2008.

Yes it was exactly three years ago this week that the genesis of the Rossland Telegraph and Lone Sheep Publishing began its march into game-changing reality. Since that time I’ve been proud to be a founder, writer, editor, accountant, ad salesman, franchiser and the entire multitude of tasks that come with being a small business owner.

Three years on we have grown the Telegraph into the most read news source in Rossland with a regular audience of over 5,000 unique readers coming from not just our little Mountain Kingdom but indeed from around the region, province and world.  Lone Sheep, launched and run by the same three of us that launched the Telegraph has since become a six publication network of independent local news covering the West Kootenays with an edge, wit, humour and responsibility along with over 30,000 unique, regular readers.

Indeed I truly am proud of what we have accomplished together and owe a mountainside of gratitude to you, our readers for supporting us so strongly along the way.

Going back three years, the founding principle of the Telegraph and Lone Sheep was that of democracy, independent and locally-owned media as well as filling what we saw as a gap at the time with no local newspaper servicing Rossland. Thanks to your participation as readers and commenters you’ve helped us achieve that goal by actively participating in the news as a two way conversation. Indeed, Rosslanders deserve a standing ovation for their  brilliant respect for one another as well as the Telegraph when discussing at times controversial topics.

Telegraph readers have bucked the internet trend of online commenting that bashes one another and often goes down destructive paths. For that I thank you. Over the past three years there have been but two occasions where reader comments have had to be deleted for personal attacks.

I’ve personally enjoyed the opportunities the Telegraph provided to meet and get to know many of you and discover the wonderful stories you all bring to our little mountain town. Rossland truly is overflowing with talent, passion, intelligence and a strong moral conscience. It has been my pleasure to uncover those stories and promote Rossland to the wider, online world. And fret not; the wonder of our Mountain Kingdom has not gone unnoticed.

One particular e-mail stands out in my mind from February 2009 in which a reader wrote to congratulate myself on one particular story. She lauded the Telegraph’s success and informed us that from her home in Mount Pearl Newfoundland, she had become a regular reader of the Telegraph; particularly my editorials on growing the economy, arts and culture and quality of life in a small mountain town as she could relate and translate the sentiment to her own mountainside community, albeit many thousands of kilometers away.

It will be the respectful, intelligent and progressive discussions held on the Telegraph among writers and readers alike that in many instances had a direct impact on the politics, life and times of the Golden City that I will truly miss being an active part of–from a writer’s perspective that is. I now look forward to future writers’ thoughts and opinions on the local happenings and enjoying the Telegraph from the perspective of reader, commenter and newsmaker as opposed to owner and editor.

Alas as I depart the Telegraph, I will not be departing Rossland, our growing family’s home, and look forward to putting my efforts into additional community work, not the least of which will be serious exploration towards putting my name in the hat for city council this November.

 After having written 600-plus stories, 100 city council meetings attended, numerous school board meetings, community group meetings, events, parades and celebrations alike, I look forward to putting a three year intensive education into the life, times and issues of Rossland through the Telegraph to use serving the community in new ways.

My writing will continue, I’ll just be moving on to new subjects and new mediums as I go back to my writing roots as a freelancer. I’ll continue to venture into values based projects as well. Over the past year, myself and two partners have founded a new company, Mountain Riders Alliance, this time setting out to revolutionize the ski industry (my lifetime passion) as best we can, rather than the media. A second project recently founded with two additional new partners, Concorde Blue West will also be looking to revamp the waste industry in an environmentally and fiscally progressive manner. Who knows, perhaps you’ll be reading about those projects in the Telegraph in the near future.

In the meantime however, I wish to extend you all a big digital hug, hand shake, round of applause and a heartfelt thank you for supporting the Telegraph through our birth growth and emergence as the most read news source in the region these last three years. It has been you the reader that has been the number one reason for the success’s we’ve achieved. I’ve just been lucky enough to start a business in a town as supportive, friendly and welcoming as Rossland.

With that I’ll sign off on story  number 617 for the Telegraph, wish David and Adrian the best of luck as they continue on the legacy of the Telegraph as well as our franchise owners and staff in Grand Forks, Castlegar, Nelson and Trail who have each taught me a few things along the way and have enriched my life for having known and worked with them.

Thank you Rossland.


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