History Keepers

People can be living history documents, but someone has to be the scribe. At The Times-Independent, the six full-time writers are the keepers of history, and those journalists keep the newspaper alive.

The Times-Independent is the community newspaper in Moab, Utah, and was birthed in 1896.

“In small communities like this, the newspapers are really the archive of the town and the region’s history,” said Lisa Church, the current editor of the Independent. “When we look back through those archives, it’s amazing to see first of all, how the town has changed, but also to learn about the people who’ve played such a vital role in it.”

This machine completes the finished printed project by creasing the paper or cutting it in half. The sheet seen was from a recently printed newspaper cover. Photo: Jillian Clemente.

The paper really gives the community information just about Moab. If not for this paper, they’d be forced to read a larger paper like The Salt Lake Tribune or USA Today and miss all the local news, according to Church.

Community That Cares

“Community journalism is so important to little towns like this,” she said. “This newspaper has been recording Moab’s history for over 100 years, and that’s daunting.”

Sadie Warner, the art director for the Independent, said, ““If you don’t have other avenues, your best bet for information you can trust and more (of it) than anywhere else is the newspaper.”

She said that the paper truly gives people a voice, especially since the only other media outlet in the area is a radio station.

The paper is strongly community-based and focuses on the people. For example, children who receive 4.0 GPAs in local schools get their picture in the paper for this achievement.

“Just recently, we’ve had two full opinion pages,” said Warner.

It also allows for citizens to walk right into and get some printing done since the Independent is printed on-site.

Journalists That Serve

Sadie Warner, the art director for The Times-Independent, explains the community press. Here, some flyers were recently printed. Photo: Jillian Clemente.
Sadie Warner, the art director for The Times-Independent, explains the community press. Here, some flyers were recently printed. Photo: Jillian Clemente.

They make a press available for public use to serve the public. This group of journalists really embodies the definition of one.

“You actually do it because you care about the people that live here,” said Zane Taylor, the owner of the Independent. “It can be thankless from the community but, if it wasn’t there, (they wouldn’t realize) how important it is.”

But It’s Worth It

Church said that there’s a heartfelt embrace by the Moab community for anyone that comes into town.

“It’s a small town when the tourists aren’t here, and people look out for each other,” Church said.

The community is close with the journalists, too. While closeness is desired, it’s not always rainbows and butterflies.

There is certain satisfaction to this job, however stressful and hard it can be.

“It’s not easy, it’s not fun,” Taylor said. “It’s emotional energy that’s high, some of it’s nuts and bolts, (but) it’s a job. You see it as an important place as you get older.”

Church said, “I think it’s really touching to see the community step up. It’s hard to not want to be a part of that.”

Facts About The Times-Independent

  • It was created in 1896.
  • The Taylor family bought it in 1910 and have owned it for three generations.
  • In 1914, the two papers, The Grand Valley Times and The Moab Independent combined into the current The Times-Independent.
  • 2,750 copies are printed each week and distributed to a plethora of locations, including local hotels.
  • There are 1,280 subscribers, which includes locals and out-of-town people.
  • It’s printed every Wednesday afternoon but dated on Thursday.
  • Each roll of broadsheet pulp weights 850 pounds.
  • The full-time staff ranges between 6 to 7 people, but the full staff count caps at a dozen.