Thuermer stepping down as News&Guide editor

By Jim Stanford on April 24, 2014

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Angus Thuermer will be taking his Leica around Wyoming writing about the environment for WyoFile.

The bombshell news came on the bottom of page two.

Angus M. Thuermer Jr., the dean of Jackson Hole journalism, is resigning as editor of the News&Guide, the paper reported yesterday.

Thuermer, 61, will become statewide natural resources correspondent for the online news outlet WyoFile. His last day at the paper is May 21.

Thuermer started in the pressroom at the Jackson Hole News in 1978 and worked his way up to editor. He reputedly kidnapped publisher Mike Sellett’s dog and held it ransom for a newsroom job.

Along with Sellett, Thuermer presided over the News as it became one of the top small weeklies in the country. He wrote the bulk of environmental news during the 1990s, covering stories like the reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone, recovery of grizzly bears and slaughter of bison outside the world’s first national park.

The hard-nosed newsman doggedly pursued his stories, taking on developers, despoilers of natural resources and politicians who sought to conduct public business in secret. He told riveting tales of grizzly maulings, avalanches and rescues of climbers in Grand Teton National Park.

Along the way he mentored a generation of Jackson Hole journalists. Stroking his beard, he would ask probing questions of reporters upon reading a first draft, showing them the types of questions they should ask of their subjects. He kept a copy of Wyoming’s open meetings law in his top desk drawer and never hesitated to pull it out and lecture a young reporter.

Following the merger of the News with the Jackson Hole Guide in late 2002, Thuermer served as co-editor with Tom Dewell. After the death of co-publisher Elizabeth McCabe, Sellett sold the paper to Kevin and Shelley Olson in 2012.

Thuermer cited a desire to focus on journalism, rather than administrative duties, as the motivation behind the change. WyoFile is a nonprofit news service funded by grants from a number of prominent foundations and former journalists; the website offers in-depth coverage and analysis of issues.

Thuermer, right, surveys the Budge Drive landslide while preparing to ski corn down Snow King last week.

Thuermer has embraced online publishing about as slowly as he did the transition from leather telemark boots and hard-tail mountain bikes. Now he joins the ranks of bloggers, while swooshing downhill on alpine touring gear and riding full suspension.

His departure from the paper sent shockwaves through Jackson’s media community, but many colleagues already are looking forward to seeing Angus Unmuzzled, taking on coal companies, oil and gas drillers, Gov. Matt Mead and Sen. John Barrasso, among others.

With him goes much of the paper’s institutional memory. Rich Anderson, a veteran reporter and editor, will take over, at least in the interim.

Thuermer leaves behind a rich account of decades of Jackson Hole history, as well as a prolific collection of photos of canoeing across Green River Lakes and Tim Young skiing powder in the Teton backcountry.

Here’s to seeing similarly sharp images and inspiring stories from places like the Big Horns and Snowy Range in the years to come.

(Portrait by Price Chambers; ski photo by Frederick Reimers)

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Posted under Business, Environment, Media, Politics

4 Comments so far

  1. Todd Wilkinson April 24, 2014 7:20 pm

    Angus is a badger, but of the best kind. He also hails from a strong family and people who weren’t afraid to speak truth to power. Fortunately, he’s not venturing very far.

  2. Chuck April 25, 2014 7:24 am

    Bets wishes Angus. You did well by this community and you will be missed at the NG.

  3. KB April 26, 2014 12:13 pm

    Hope this means he won’t have to stop skiing early on Thursdays for some dumb ol’ editorial meetings. Won’t have to shave his eyelids anymore either. Good luck you old Haggis-eating hipster.

  4. Common Sense Guy April 30, 2014 11:27 am

    Finally!

    Hopefully the News and Guide will start being more objective to the matters they are writing about. I would love to have a paper in the valley that reports from the center, not all liberal and democrat. Hope the new editor will be someone with more common sense who limits their attacks towards the right side or attacks the left side as much as the right.

    PS: Jim, How about all the money being spent on the slide? Why are they pilling up dirt instead of digging into the hill to reduce the angle and the weight on the toe? They will have to do this anyways to stabilize it on the long term….

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