SANDPOINT — The Sandpoint Reader has been honored by the Greater Sandpoint Chamber of Commerce as its business of the month. The chamber recognized the publican for its commitment to providing Sandpoint with a free weekly source for arts, entertainment, news, and opinion.
The Sandpoint Reader was originally launched in 2004 by Zach Hagadone, John Reuter, Chris DeCleur, and Ben Olson as a contributing writer. They described themselves as “an alternative weekly started on a shoe-string budget, fueled by a passion for journalism and community.” The Reader published for eight years, closing in 2012 when the trio departed for other adventures.
In January 2015, after a near three-year hiatus, The Reader, in partnership with Keokee Publishing, was resurrected with Ben Olson as publisher and Cameron Rasmusson as editor. The first issue of the new Reader was published Jan. 22, 2015.
“People were stopping me in the street and telling me that they missed the calendar, and the long-form articles written by locals,” Olson said. “I wanted to not only improve this town, but the quality of conversation. The people who choose to live here are from various backgrounds and places, and I felt that many of their voices were not being heard. I believe if people are more informed, and we spark more conversations, then we are being successful.”
Olson and Rasmusson also support several community programs, such as The Reader Reels in partnership with the Panida. The Reader also started “Live at the Office” where they host singer/songwriters for “tiny desk concerts” as a way to promote local artists to a younger audience. Rasmusson is one of the originators and organizers of the Sandemonium event held every August at the East Bonner County Library District’s Sandpoint branch. The Reader also makes in-kind sponsorships of the CHaFE150, Team Autism 24-7, 24 Hours for Hank, The Festival at Sandpoint, Pend Oreille Arts Council, and The Panida.
“If it helps the artistic output in Sandpoint, then it’s worth it for me,” said Olson, who also plays guitar and sings in a local band.
“I have never been involved in anything in a community where I have received so much positive feedback. For the most part, our readers are very appreciative of having an outlet that they can submit articles and I love that it’s not just mine or Cameron’s voice in every article,” he added.
Information: online, sandpointreader.com; or by phone, 208-265-9724