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Backstory on City Weekly's Scott Renshaw


Once upon a time, in the spring of 1999, an unemployed writer living in Salt Lake City was looking for a gig. Then, lo, an opening appeared at a little newspaper tucked away on Park City’s Main Street. The editor was moving to a job in Tennessee, and the assistant editor was taking a sabbatical to write a book. They needed someone to hold down the fort. And that unemployed writer—yours truly—got a shot at City Weekly’s then-sister publication, Mountain Times.

For the next several months, there were exactly two people—myself, and veteran reporter Cornelia de Bruin—occupying the Mountain Times office as editorial staffers for a weekly paper. But we had some invaluable assistance. Our own Ted Scheffler provided dining coverage. Wina Sturgeon, now gracing these pages with her Get Out columns, wrote a weekly outdoors feature. Alex Wells returned from his sabbatical to provide great features and reporting for a short time before he again departed. It was a small publication, but we were proud of the work we did covering the arts, news and entertainment of that unique community.

Of course, when you’re that small an operation, sometimes you have to wear multiple hats. It may be hard to believe in this electronic age, but someone had to physically drive a manila envelope of photos down to the City Weekly production department every week for layout. And if we needed a hand for the cover of a holiday issue touting cheap Main Street gift ideas—an actual hand, holding a couple of $10 bills—chances are good that hand would belong to me.

I’d like to think I wasn’t the primary reason that Mountain Times would only survive until the fall of 2000. It was then that I was absorbed into the City Weekly staff, where I was already spending half of my time, and I certainly didn’t miss the commute up and down the mountain. But with my weekly cinema column in Mountain Times, I got my first chance at being a full-time film critic after cutting my teeth in the early days of the Internet—as well as my first press credential for the Sundance Film Festival. Neither John Saltas nor I could have known where we’d wind up 11 years after he hired me for that job, but we wouldn’t have gotten here without Mountain Times. For teaching me what this crazy weekly newspaper business was all about, I’ll always remember it fondly.