Pensacola, Florida
Tuesday July 23rd 2019

Archives

Outtakes—Wow, 20 Years

By Rick Outzen

We’ve been at this newspaper thing for two decades, covering hurricanes, floods, oil spills, murders, jail explosions, government corruption and the area’s renaissance. We’ve upset the status quo, picked fights and went too far several times to make our points. We’ve had office windows smashed, tires slashed, received too many personal threats to count and had our newspapers stolen off our stands.

Yet, we endure.

I’ve had the pleasure of working with very talented editors, reporters, graphic artists and others over the years—each of whom has left his or her mark on this ever-evolving newspaper. As I prepared for this special anniversary, I reviewed all 1,032 issues of the paper and saw how much we’ve improved with each year.

I also saw the impact this little alt-weekly has had on this community. We exposed the crooked land deals of the county, challenged ECUA to relocate its downtown sewage plant, fought for better medical care for prisoners in the county jail and pushed for the maritime park when few thought it would ever happen. We were bold, brash and relentless in our pursuit of the truth.

We were also reckless and irreverent at times—creating our pink flamingo statues to compete with the Gannett pelican monuments, submitting our resumes to be the next PNJ editor and having our entire staff pre-file to run for the Pensacola City Council. Our “ballsy plans” and April Fools’ issues became harbingers of future city, county and UWF initiatives. We tried to maintain the delicate balance of respecting our readers and their concerns without taking ourselves too seriously.

As you can imagine, the task of recapping 20 years for reporting in one issue is nearly impossible. We’ve decided to spread our anniversary over all four July issues. Each week, we will focus on the moments that we believe helped ingrain our publication into the fabric of this community.

This issue focuses on the coverage of Commissioner W.D. Childers that led to his downfall and built our reputation has skilled investigators. While people may groan about the current state of local politics, the Childers era was the “Wild West,” and we had a front-row seat.

On July 11, we will publish the inside story of the passage of the referendum that made the Community Maritime Park possible. Without the park, downtown Pensacola would still be a ghost town.

On July 18, we will write about how Inweekly became a national and international phenomenon with our coverage of the murders of Bud and Melanie Billings and the BP oil spill, and the following week, we will write about how we’ve returned to our roots as an advocate for the community.

We hope you will enjoy the articles. Thank you for support over the years.