Wednesday, June 8, 2005

Express publisher celebrates 25 years of news

Express Staff Writer

Pam Morris celebrates 25 years this month as publisher of the Idaho Mountain Express. Photo by David N. Seelig

Skiing brought Pam Morris to the Wood River Valley, the news cemented her stay.

"I realized that probably the best thing I could do to change the world was to make sure people got the information and had a place to get it," Morris, publisher of the Idaho Mountain Express, said.

As publisher, Morris ensures informed decisions enhance the community. This month Morris celebrates 25 years as publisher of the Express.

"In the last 25 years, there have been a lot of ups and down. She found a way to navigate," said Jeff Cordes, long-time Express sports editor and a board of directors member.

Morris assumed the duties as managing editor of the Mountain Express in 1980. She replaced Martha (Poitevin) Page, who resigned to move out of the area.

"I knew when I left, that I was leaving the paper in the hands of someone who had the right values, who believed in the stewardship of the press," Page, a founder of the paper and Express board of directors chair, said.

As steward of information, Morris expanded the paper to become a biweekly publication, with a permanent headquarters in Ketchum. Under her guidance, the company also began publishing the Sun Valley Guide magazine, the Real Estate Guide and special sections supplements.

Among her accomplishments, Morris' on-going dedication to Idaho stands forefront in the minds of coworkers. Over the years, her interest in public lands and environmental issues exemplified her commitment.

"I still believe if people have the information, they will make the decisions that are right for them and right for their world," Morris said.

Born and raised in Pocatello, Idaho, Morris arrived to the valley after graduating with honors from the University of Utah with a degree in psychology. Like many, she worked multiple jobs, including stints at the Holiday Inn and Louie's restaurant to support her skiing passion.

"The thing I wanted to do more than anything when I graduated, was ski. The first winter here wasn't enough," Morris said.

With hopes of finding an interesting job that would enable her to live in the Wood River Valley, Morris responded to a classified advertisement for a typesetter at the paper. The advertisement facilitated Morris' tenure at the Express.

After nine months typing classifieds, stories and captions, she landed a job as a news reporter.

"I wanted to be a reporter because I saw things out there that I wanted to know about and I thought others wanted to know about," Morris said.

Morris debuted with three feature stories—one detailed the RV camping experience.

As a reporter, Morris worked tirelessly covering all areas of the Wood River Valley—all for $100 a week. Her early writing concentrated on Blaine County government and the city of Hailey, including coverage of Blaine County's first comprehensive plan.

"I saw every single aspect of what was going on in the county," Morris said.

After four years, Morris assumed the duties as managing editor of the Mountain Express.

Twenty-five years later, her commitment to the news continues to match the passion of a cub reporter, whose love of skiing found its match with the world of journalism.

"What they don't know is I would do this for free," Morris said.

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The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.