Aug 7, 2012 - By Chad BaldwinI grew up working with her at The Ranger
The others members of The Ranger's news staff thought she was crazy.
It was customary for Editor Carolyn Tyler to hire a college student as The Ranger's summer news intern. But in the summer of 1979, Carolyn took a different route. Acting on the recommendation of Riverton Junior High School journalism teacher Kathryn Currier, Carolyn hired a 14-year-old ninth-grader for the internship. The recent college graduates who made up the Ranger reporting crew --counting on a competent, at least somewhat proven journalist to fill the intern job --were not happy with Carolyn's choice. But she insisted it was worth taking a chance on the kid who didn't even have a driver's license.
That kid was me. Today, more than 30 years after Carolyn gave me my first full-time job, I remain grateful for the opportunity she provided - as well as the longtime work relationship and friendship that ensued.
News of Carolyn's death has hit hard this summer. I literally grew up working for and with her at The Ranger, and I have many fond memories of Carolyn's professionalism, perseverance and wit. It won't be the same without her work in the newspaper every day.
When I first went to work at The Ranger, Carolyn was the heart and soul of the newsroom. Every morning, Carolyn would buzz each reporter's desk telephone to call them together for the daily news staff meeting. She would hand out assignments, receive updates about stories on which reporters were working, and assemble the list of stories and photos for that day's paper. Her physical impairments limited her ability to move around the Ranger offices, but she was calling the shots.
Over the years, as Carolyn's health problems worsened, her role at The Ranger changed. She gave up the editor duties but still served vital functions, covering the school district, rewriting news releases, handling obituaries, and writing her columns. As my role at the newspaper evolved from summer intern to reporter to editor, Carolyn provided valuable support, guidance and insight. One of my favorite daily tasks was dropping by her house on Sierra Drive to drop off folders of news releases and announcements. Invariably, those visits turned into conversations about Fremont County news developments, college football and family.
Those visits also gave me a firsthand look at the incredible physical challenges she faced. Most of the times I stopped by, Carolyn was parked at her computer, doing work for the newspaper, answering phone calls and following the news on TV and online. But on more than one occasion I found her in her bed dealing with serious health problems. Even at those times, she welcomed the work I brought her and responded with an upbeat attitude that still amazes me.
In the 11 years since I left Riverton, Carolyn continued her important yet largely unheralded work for The Ranger. Her dedication to the small details that are so vital in community journalism was remarkable. Her handiwork was evident in every edition of the paper for more than 50 years, as publisher Steve Peck has so eloquently noted in the days since her death.
Carolyn indeed has left her mark on Wyoming journalism and Fremont County. I consider myself extremely fortunate to be among those whose lives were directly enhanced and uplifted by her.
Editor's note: Former Ranger editor Chad Baldwin is the director of institutional communications for the University of Wyoming.
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