R M OutlookThe Rocky Mountain Outlook was launched in Canmore by three Canmore residents in 2001 and now published by Black Press since 2005. I found the history of the publication on their website interesting as it describes how technological advances and human effort combined to create a small and soon-to-be award-winning and desirable weekly newspaper in Canmore, Alberta.   According to their website, “In the autumn of 2000, three long-time Bow Valley residents – Larry Marshall, Bob Schott and Carol Picard – began serious planning for a new publication in the Canmore-Banff corridor, one that would cover all communities from Lake Louise to Kananaskis.

Theirs was a novel idea for the day – a free distribution weekly that would put into the hands of residents and the area’s millions of tourists the news, entertainment and sports from the communities in which they lived and vacationed, and offer the area’s advertisers an effective vehicle to reach those visitors.

Schott, a 20-plus-year resident of Canmore became sales manager. Picard, former editor of the Canmore Leader and a 15-year resident of Canmore, became editor, and Marshall, another 15-year resident and former managing editor of both the Canmore Leader and Banff Crag & Canyon, was publisher.

Going head-to-head on two fronts with the area’s two existing weeklies – the Canmore Leader and The Banff Crag & Canyon – meant few gave the Rocky Mountain Outlook much chance of survival. Not only did they not charge for individual copies, they debuted a mere nine days after Sept. 11, 2001, when the world’s tourism market had completely evaporated.

But by going direct-to-press with pages and being fully digital meant the paper was far more nimble than any weekly publication at that time, allowing for later deadlines and actual breaking news in its coverage. The Outlook also offered full process colour extensively throughout which appealed to both readers and advertisers. Self-financed by the three founders, the paper did indeed flounder at first, but they claim that

Its combination of gritty determination and outstanding talent, from photographers, reporters and ad designers all the way up to senior management, won them the market, reader by reader and advertiser by advertiser. By the end of its second year, circulation had climbed to 12,000-plus and the paper grew from 36 to 72 pages. By the summer of 2008, the Outlook was routinely running at 104 pages.

In 2013, its circulation seems to have stabilized at around 10,000 copies.

By 2004, when the paper was finally eligible for membership in the Canadian Community Newspaper Association and the Alberta Weekly Newspaper Association, it had already become the talk of the industry in Western Canada and began winning the first of dozens of national and provincial awards it has earned since, everything from Best Newspaper overall in its circulation class to Best Photography, Feature Writing, Editorial Writing, Ad Design and Cartooning.”

In 2005, the remaining partners sold the Rocky Mountain Outlook to Black Press. Since then, it’s been sold to the Great West Newspaper Group in partnership with Glacier Media. Amazingly enough, reports are that most of the original staff from its launch in 2001 remain.

See more about and view the digital editions of Rocky Mountain Outlook at www.rmoutlook.com.