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The very first edition of the Red Rock News hit the streets of Sedona on Oct. 3, 1963. In it, founder Robert S. Larson described his vision for the new publication — words that still ring true a half-century later.

The Red Rock News published its first edition 50 years ago today, on Thursday, Oct. 3, 1963.“We firmly believe with the help and the patience of the good people of Sedona (many of whom we already know), we can give a good, newsy newspaper,” he wrote. “This is just the first issue and as the other issues roll off the presses each week we know that many improvements will be made. We will, as time goes on, give a wide coverage of local news along with many features.”

 

For the last 50 years, the Sedona Red Rock News has served the people of Sedona and the surrounding areas as the trusted source to keep residents connected to the goings-on in their community. That was the goal beginning with the first edition and remains the same today.

 

Publisher Robert B. Larson said it’s important to be able to have a place for local news and information in one’s town and the people of Sedona have needed to look no further than the NEWS to bring them coverage they can use to stay abreast of local news and happenings.

“I thank the community for allowing us to come into their homes and for providing us with their input over the last 50 years,” he said.

The elder Larson was no stranger to the newspaper business. By the time he and his wife, Loretta, started the NEWS, they had already owned several newspapers.

The family had come up to Sedona on many occasions to vacation and beat the heat. But one visit was a little different, as the Larsons made a point to meet many of the town’s movers and shakers. That wasn’t very difficult back then, being that Sedona had just 1,200 residents.

“My folks had seen all these papers come and go and felt they could start one here that could last,” said Larson, whose siblings Jerry, Tom and Liz have worked at the paper at one time or another. “A lot of people wanted a real newspaper and at the time, there was nothing here.”

In the past 50 years, readers have learned about student athletes hitting the game-winning home runs at Sedona Red Rock High School, the interesting hobbies of the man or woman down the street, upcoming local events or the organization that is making a difference by helping out their fellow neighbors.

The News also acts as a means for the residents of the Verde Valley to let their voices be heard, thanks to sections like Letters to the Editor, Guest Perspectives and People on the Street. The result: It’s never a one-sided discussion.

“I still feel there’s always going to be a need for a printed product [in Sedona],” said Larson. “There’s no one else out there that gives you a story that is purely local.”

Over the years, the NEWS called a handful of locations in town “home” before relocating in 1979 to its current address, 298 Van Deren Road. The following year, a press was added there after having the paper printed in Flagstaff for the previous 12 years.

“A lot of people couldn’t understand why we moved into a building this size since we had just five employees,” Larson said. “But I told them, ‘Trust me — I see the future and it’s bright.’”

The News staff continues to bring awards home from the annual Arizona Newspapers Association Better Newspapers Contest. The NEWS has won recognition in several areas including general excellence, feature writing and photography, as well as individual awards earned by staff members.

“We are so proud of the employees that bring the paper to our readers week in and week out,” Larson said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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