When I was just out of High School, I was caught up with the idea of doing whatever I could to make the community where I lived a better place. Somehow I got the idea in my head that I was going to start a newspaper and report on local issues. It would be a forum for me to express my opinions about the community where I had grown up, as well as have a few positive programs about the local sports programs. This was important to me as my brothers and I had run the local youth sports programs for several years.
It was my intent to make this a monthly publication. Of course you can’t make a monthly publication unless there is someone around to print the paper. I approached Ken Downs form Downs Printing, which was the only printing office in Hyrum. I got from him an idea of how much it would cost me to print a newspaper. I am sure he gave me a really good deal. Especially since he would have to do all thy type set. I had a typewriter at home as my only tool (this was before the age of computers.)
With an idea of the cost, I then had to generate the revenue. I didn’t want to sell the paper so it depended on advertising. Hyrum Drug was my major advertiser. My brother-in-law managed the drug store. However, I approached the other businesses in Hyrum (there weren’t that many.) I had made up sample sizes for ads and presented them to the other business owners. The Scissor Wizard, where I cut my hair placed an ad as did Maud’s the local women’s clothing store. I approached Anderson Lumber. Over time I even had some business from Logan put ads in my paper. This mostly was Impruvall Tire, which was located in Logan but was managed by someone from Hyrum.__________
And so was born the Hyrum Crusader. The first issue was ______. The last version was ________just before I went on my mission—so the paper lasted a little more than a year. It was printed a paper that was better than newsprint. It was larger than regular paper, with a fold in the middle making it effectively a four-page publication.
I covered stories from regular journalism to positive pieces. I sometimes tried to do investigative reporting. Some people complained about the noise of snow mobiles in town. This was a relatively new mode of transportation and they were very loud. I conducted a poll, trying to call people from different parts of the community. I discovered this was only a problem for those along popular snow mobile routes.
When the city allowed a contractor to pretty much bulldozer Camp Hollow, I ran an expose of that. When I was young we went on a field trip to Camp Hollow, and it was a special place. Camp Hollow was the place where we were told Hyrum was originally founded. The first winter, settlers had built dugouts in the side of a hill trying to stay out of the cold. The next summer the actual town of Hyrum developed a few blocks away. Camp Hollow was covered over, and the plaque that designated the place was moved to a park, making way for residential development.
I covered local politics from time to time, writing about City Council meetings.
I would also do photo layouts such as a photographic essay of the t-ballers—they were cute.
I also was the newspaper boy. I tried to deliver a copy to every home in Hyrum. I don’t think that was really all that many copies as Hyrum was not a very large community, less than 4000 with some 1000 households.
I printed the Hyrum Crusader with no journalistic experience. However it did motivate me to want to be a journalist, and so when I returned from my mission I studied journalism for about a year. During that time I had some stories printed in the Utah Statesman, the Utah State University newspaper. I also did some work for the Cache Citizen, a new weekly paper in Cache Valley. (I covered the Hyrum Fourth of July rodeo for them.)
My experiences with the Hyrum Crusader also lead me to another publication. I put together a book of poetry from young contributors in Hyrum. This included some artwork or animals by a friend of mine growing up who was good at art, Neil Frank. It also included poems from friends I knew. I got the idea form this based on a poetry book which was published by the high school every year.