Next month will mark the 21st anniversary of the first issue of the Pioneer Press at Robson Ranch. One of the early residents, Tracy Olson, started the publication, adopting the name from the St. Paul Pioneer Press in her Minnesota hometown. Later, Jo-Ann Arden became editor-in-chief, then David Laschinger took the reins.
The early newsletter was printed monthly on 8-1/2 x 11-inch paper in the HOA office and hand-delivered to residents. As the community grew, so did the staff of volunteers needed to gather information, write stories, compose the newsletter, and print and distribute copies. Each edition of the paper became larger as new clubs formed and there was more news to report. As new residents moved in, more copies were needed. The cost of paper and toner was becoming an issue for the HOA. Certainly, advertising or sponsorships could have offset the costs, but a survey of readers in early 2005 showed 83% did not want advertising. With no revenue, the newspaper team was forced to look for other options.
Early in the Summer of 2005, representatives from Robson Publishing came here to meet with the Pioneer Press volunteers. After some negotiation, it was agreed that their monthly newspaper, The Wrangler, would be renamed the Pioneer Press. Articles and photos that had previously been published locally were to be emailed to Arizona for consideration.
The last Pioneer Press printed on the HOA copier was Volume 3, Number 7, in August 2005, with 30 pages. It represented the final chapter of a challenging but rewarding time in this community’s early days. But it opened a new era for the professionally produced publication we now enjoy each month.