Brandon Loomis, a senior environmental reporter at the Arizona Republic since 2012, has been named editor of the Adirondack Explorer. He will start in July, succeeding Editor Phil Brown, who announced his retirement earlier this year.
Loomis began his career at a weekly newspaper in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where he covered the Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks during the buildup to wolf reintroduction in that region. He has since worked at newspapers in Idaho, Utah, Alaska, and Arizona and at the Chicago bureau of the Associated Press. He was city editor of the Juneau Empire in Alaska during the mid-2000s.
His work at the Republic and, previously, at the Salt Lake Tribune won numerous national awards. His story about jaguars that cross from Mexico into the United States was part of a project by Arizona Republic and USA Today Network staff that won a Pulitzer Prize this year. The project examined President Trump’s proposal for a border wall. Loomis also was part of a team named a Pulitzer finalist for coverage of a deadly 2013 wildfire. His series about the lingering effects of Cold War uranium mining on the Navajo Nation won the 2015 National Headliner Award for environmental writing, and his 2011 Salt Lake Tribune report on the link between climate change and a massive bark-beetle outbreak in western forests won the $75,000 Grantham Prize for Excellence in Reporting on the Environment.
“We are delighted the Adirondack Explorer has attracted such a talented and respected environmental journalist with deep knowledge of conservation science and public-land issues as well as a love of the outdoors,” Explorer Publisher Tracy Ormsbee said in an announcement sent to the press. “He is dedicated to telling important stories that will help our readers understand the Adirondack Park and ways they can get involved in ensuring its future.”
“Our departing editor, Phil Brown, brought the magazine from a 28-page, black-and-white tabloid on newsprint to a glossy, full-color magazine respected throughout the Park and beyond for its thorough, well-informed, and always balanced coverage of Adirondack issues and recreation,” Ormsbee said. “We look forward to watching where Brandon takes the Explorer and its websites next.”
Loomis was born in Watertown and lived there and in nearby Adams Center until his family resettled in Alaska when he was in grade school. He grew up mostly in Ketchikan, Alaska, where he worked summers at a fish processing plant and at a pulp mill. After he graduated from high school, the family returned to the North Country, where he has made regular visits for the last three decades.
He is a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s College of Journalism and completed a 1993-1994 Ted Scripps Graduate Fellowship in Environmental Journalism at the University of Michigan, where he studied forestry, conservation biology, water policy, and federal environmental policy. He spent the 2014-2015 academic year on an O’Brien Fellowship in Public Service Journalism at Marquette University, completing a series about the effects of climate change on the Colorado River.
He is married and has three sons.
The Adirondack Explorer is a non-profit publication dedicated to promoting the preservation and enjoyment of the Adirondack Park, the largest park in the contiguous United States. Founded in 1998 and based in Saranac Lake, NY, the Explorer reaches thousands of readers with its bimonthly magazine and website, its online Adirondack Almanack (the Park’s largest daily online news journal), and its growing series of guidebooks.
Phil Brown has done such a great job for so long with the Explorer — from the very beginning, really — it is very hard to imagine the magazine without him. He will surely be missed by his fans and we are all fortunate to have been his readers for so long. We hope his retirement from the day-to-day management of the publication won’t mean that he disappears from its pages entirely.
It was also hard to imagine how the Explorer would find someone to take over Phil’s duties (he could never be replaced). It looks like Tracy and company have found a first-rate environmental journalist with experience out West and family here in the Adirondacks. That’s a very promising start. Can’t wait to see what’s next.
Welcome to Mr. Loomis. The DAKs offer a new challenge for his skills.
Farewell and god speed to Phil Brown, a gifted outdoor and recreation writer. His editorial bent was however far from balanced. It was definitely tilted towards environmental issues, with little balance for the economic needs of those of us who live within the Blue Line. My opinion … may not be shared by others. I do wish him well in this next phase of life.
Without a stellar environment…
… ya go no, and I mean no, economy…
The environment (wild land) is always at the mercy of people who make laws and use or abuse the resource, not vice versa. Since the environment has no power to protect itself, I feel tilting the table toward environmental issues is quite appropriate in this case. Regional and village newspapers and media certainly are able and DO advocate for political, non-environmental issues. I personally hope the new editor continues the push toward environmental advocacy.