Thursday, March 26, 2020

Almanack Founder John Warren Says Goodbye

My contract to edit Adirondack Almanack, which I founded in 2005, and have edited for the past 15 years, is not being renewed by Adirondack Explorer.

This took me by surprise and comes at a tough time, but the decision was made by Adirondack Explorer’s new publisher, Tracy Ormsbee of Albany. Since 2014 this Almanack has been owned by Getting The Word Out Inc., (dba Adirondack Explorer).

The Almanack had been a home-grown effort. Thank you so much for your contributions of essays and words and deeds of support through all these years. I may have founded it and provided its continuity, but the Almanack wouldn’t have existed without readers and writers like you.

I founded the Adirondack Almanack in 2005 to help provide a more factual basis for what the public believes about the Adirondacks – its history, natural history, and culture. Since then, I’ve edited and hit the publish button on every single one of the more than 15,000 stories the Almanack has presented.

In 2010, the Adirondack Mountain Club recognized what we have done together with their Eleanor F. Brown ADK Communication Award “in recognition of outstanding talent and journalistic achievement in building an online, independent news source about the Adirondacks.”

I’m proud that I’ve been able to provide a space for serious discussions of Adirondack issues, deeper reporting on some issues than was ever possible before, and timely, daily coverage of this increasingly important oasis in a sea of development that is the Northeast.

We have worked before the mast. We have genuinely tried to be fair without pretending to be unbiased.

The record will show that the Almanack was the first to extensively cover the effects of climate change on the whole Adirondack Park and the threat of invasive species on the Park. It was the first to push back in a serious way based with evidence against the claims that the population of the Adirondacks was fleeing because of the Adirondack Park Agency. When local newspapers were reporting the imminent death of Hamilton County, we were providing the data and analysis that wasn’t funded by anti-Forest Preserve activists.

I’ve often wrote the copy that broke big stories, from the sinking of the Ethan Allen to the sale of 161,000 acres by Finch Pruyn to the Nature Conservancy which brought the State the Boreas Ponds Tract, the Essex Chain Lakes, OK Slip Falls, and so much more.  I’m confident in saying that the Almanack has covered that purchase and its ramifications more extensively than any other media operation.

The recently established Adirondack Diversity Initiative got an important boost at Adirondack Almanack, where an essay by the indomitable Pete Nelson helped lead to the first conference on the subject in the Adirondacks. The Almanack has been reporting on the rights of LGBTQ people since the beginning. We have tried to amplify the voices of the under-represented.

We stood against the gale. We didn’t just report on environmental politics and outdoor recreation. We didn’t ignore traditional sports liking fishing and hunting, once the basis for the protecting wild places. We covered snowmobiling in a serious way, from its economics and politics, to its history and future in a warming climate. As the issue of overuse has grown, we’ve often presented sometimes unpopular but always carefully considered opinions and reporting.

While others were offering editorials supporting the obvious taking of already designated wilderness by an international mining company, the Almanack was offering space to opponents of that view. Again you’ll find more stories on the Almanack about that topic that anywhere else.

Whether you’ve agreed with the perspectives of all the varied voices I’ve presented in this space, there is one thing that can’t be dened – they have been the voices of our neighbors, reflecting our unique Adirondack interpretations.

The Adirondack Almanack has grown from zero readers to 2 million page views per year. We created together a community space around our shared stories, and offered a place for reasonable discussion. Recreation and environmental conservation to be sure, but something as important but often overlooked by outsiders: our history and culture. We have published far more stories about the history of the Adirondacks in the last 15 years than any publication.

There Are Many To Thank

I’m particularly grateful to the many contributors who made it possible.

Early on Mary Thill, along with Mark Wilson, helped me understand what the Almanack should be, and then pitched in to help. Mark’s incisive cartoons (and the bear in a chair logo he created) set an early tone for the Almanack. I regularly draw from Mary’s ideas about what makes a good Adirondack story and her other editorial guidance even today.

Tony Hall, editor of the Lake George Mirror, provided early encouragement and advice. His father founded Adirondack Life as a supplement to his weekly newspaper in the 1970s. Tony knows his part of the Adirondacks in a way only a country editor can and the lessons a country editor can teach about publishing are immeasurable.

The past four years, Greg Dower has quietly worked in the background and played a critical part keeping the stories flowing. One thing this experience has taught me, when you find someone with the kind of intelligence, determination and loyalty to a mission that Greg has, treasure that opportunity.

The Almanack has truly been a community effort, so there have been many others. Those who quietly write to me with corrections, share links, and news. Our many writers, such as Lawrence Gooley, Diane Chase, Ellen Rathbone, Tom Kalinowski, Phil Brown, David Gibson, Peter Bauer, John Sheehan, Chris Morris, Tim Roland, Pete Nelson, Justin Levine, Christie Sausa, Kim and Pam Ladd, Mike Prescott, Dan Crane, Brian McKenzie, and so many more.

Thanks also to the advertisers, especially those such as North County Community College, the Wild Center and the Adirondack Council, who took a chance and supported the Almanack when it was still an untested medium.

If you’re in the Adirondacks, you’ll continue to hear me on Fridays at North Country Public Radio. You’ll find my future work, including the weekly conditions report, at the New York Almanack (NewYorkAlmanack.com).

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John Warren

John Warren has been exploring the woods and waters of the Adirondacks for almost 50 years. After a career as a print journalist and documentary television producer he founded Adirondack Almanack in 2005 and co-founded the geolocation services company Adirondack Atlas in 2015.

John remains active in traditional media. His Adirondack Outdoors Conditions Report can be heard Friday mornings across the region on the stations of North Country Public Radio and on 93.3 / 102.1 The Mix. Since 2008, John has been a media specialist on the staff of the New York State Writers Institute.

John is also a professional researcher and historian with a M.A. in Public History. He edits The New York History Blog and is the author of two books of regional history. As a Grant Consultant for the William G. Pomeroy Foundation, he has reviewed hundreds of historic roadside marker grant applications from around New York State for historical accuracy.




73 Responses

  1. Zephyr says:

    Thank you John for creating this site and for your years of tireless work providing us all with accurate and insightful information on Adirondack issues. You are the heart and soul of this site, and it is hard to imagine it thriving without you. I for one may move on. Best of luck in your future endeavors.

    • Sula says:

      Zephyr has said it all. I can’t imagine this site without John Warren, and wonder why he has been abruptly dismissed.

  2. Thank you, John. I remember when Baylor suggested I contact you back in 2005. I appreciate the opportunity you gave me in allowing me to write for the Almanack. Keep in touch.

  3. Garet Livermore says:

    John:

    Thank you for your years of hard work in supporting the Adirondacks and New York History. Keep writing and contributing as your voice and perspective are needed more than ever.

    Garet Livermore
    Cooperstown, NY

  4. Jim Fox says:

    A grateful thank you, John, for fueling my love for the Adirondacks every morning for the past 15 years. I will miss your contribution and vision.

  5. Philip Terrie Phil Terrie says:

    The Adirondack Almanack has been my daily go-to site for many years. Thanks for all you have done. I’ll be following you on the New York Almanack.

  6. Thatcher Hogan says:

    John!
    No! This is very sad news.

    The Adirondack Almanack is my “go-to” place for history, commentary, and current events. It is a much broader, deeper, and compact media site than any other Adirondack publication/outlet could hope to be…

    Thank you once again for your dedication to making the site so reliable and worthwhile all these years.
    Letting your contract go is a huge loss to individuals readers, to the larger Adirondacks region, and certainly to the Adirondack Explorer.

    (Baffling!)

  7. Dick Carlson says:

    Wow – a surprise to me and many I’m sure. I was always amazed at how much you accomplished on a Daily basis with this! Good luck and I’m sure I’ll follow the NY Almanack as closely as I have followed the AA. If I didn’t know better I would say there is a conspiracy – you’re leaving the AA, Don Lehman leaving the Post Star and Gordon Woodworth leaving the Glens Falls Chronicle – all three outstanding journalists and will be missed!

  8. J.Schroeter says:

    Thank you John, you will be missed.

  9. Chris Morris says:

    Quite sad to see you go, John. From adversaries to colleagues to friends. That’s a solid story arc. I owe you a beer or two.

  10. Anne says:

    John Warren-THANK YOU!!!! I am sorry to hear this news. I will look forward to hearing your Outdoor Conditions Report on Friday mornings!

  11. David Gibson says:

    John, as i wrote to you, I was very, very sorry to receive the Explorer’s notice of another AA editor being hired. And I still am sorry, and mystified. The Almanack has been a daily window into your creative talents and spirit, and your persistence and determination – no one else’s. I so admire what you create, your news choices and your signature editing every day of the year. Your reposting of Adirondack media stories has made all Adirondack media all so much more visible, accessible and successful. And thank you for how much work you have put into improving each every post, most especially, since 2010, my own. I look forward to crossing paths with you again soon

  12. Jeff Farbaniec Jeffrey Farbaniec says:

    Wow… Thanks John for making the Almanack the go-to source for perspective on all Adirondack issues!

  13. Maureen E. Donovan says:

    Keep on keepin on. I remember your voice on the radio when I lived in NY. I’ll have to try to download that so I can listen and reminisce once more. Keep safe and be well.

  14. Heather DeLeone says:

    Thank you for everything you have done. This has been a wonderful way to get Adirondack news for those of us who have moved away.

  15. Dave West says:

    Mr. Warren,
    Thank you. Your editorial and publishing work for the past 15 years has been well received by many, and is a solid example of what balanced reporting should be. I moved to the NY tri-city area after graduation 50 years ago. While not an Adirondack resident, the Adirondacks have been a year round presence in our lives ever since. We invested in property there in the late 80s. It is the location of our annual family reunion. Your tireless efforts over the past decade and a half have kept us in touch with the issues and culture we care for so much. Your daily presence ion our lives will be missed.

  16. Chris says:

    This has been such an important resource for me over the last 15 years. Thank you for your vision in creating it and your execution in bringing us such important information!

    I am sad to hear this news because I can’t see what needs to be changed. I certainly hope it lives on in the same spirit and delivery.

  17. Laurie says:

    I’m so sorry to hear this. You have been the heart and soul of this site all along and I struggle to see anyone filling your shoes. Best of luck with what the future brings.

  18. Westernedge says:

    What a loss!
    The Adirondack Almanack has been my favorite morning reading, wherever I happened to be, for fifteen years now! Keep on writing! Your fans will find you!!

  19. Helene Vanderburgh says:

    Thank you, JOHN. I have enjoyed your informative writing and will miss you.
    Adirondack Explorer published outside the Adirondacks? We need jobs here!

  20. Drew Cullen says:

    Thank you for all you have done to raise the level of discourse on all maters Adirondack. You will be missed and its hard to understand why this happened.

    As many of the previous comment have mentioned (and I am glad they did so I know where to follow you) I will be looking to NY Almanack.

  21. adkDreamer says:

    Best of luck John on your new adventure.

  22. Pete Nelson Pete Nelson says:

    John:

    We’ll talk, but publicly I just want to thank you for the opportunity you gave me. Mostly I want to say that you have made – and I’m sure will continue to make – a substantial difference in the welfare and protection of this Park, and your contributions will live on, as they well should. Your passion is an inspiration.

    Pete

  23. Scott van Laer scott van Laer says:

    Bummer! I have so enjoyed writing, reading and commenting here. The Explorer is making a mistake.

  24. Suzanne says:

    Many thanks to you, John Warren, for your dedication, excellent journalism and hard work to make the Explorer what it is (or now, probably, was). One can’t imagine why you have been let go, especially without warning–so disgraceful. We’ve had enough bad news of late, and now this? I will not be renewing my subscription to the Explorer, because of this, but will look for you elsewhere. Best wishes, and looking forward to hearing your voice on NCPR.

  25. Jim S. says:

    I am upset to hear this news. Good luck Mr. Warren, I hope your next opportunity comes with more intelligent management. I can’t describe how important this site has been to me and my love for the Adirondacks.

  26. Tim Hubbard says:

    John, as a person born in the North Country and then moving onward into many other spaces as my life and career(s) bloomed, I really appreciated the humble “roots” that the your Almanack possessed to pull me back to my beginning… You obviously were a major part of that – it can’t possibly be the same without you there – that is sad…

  27. Bruce P Coffin says:

    Dear John Warren
    I anticipate your Outdoor Report every Friday on NPR and she’ll continue to do so. However I shall be at a loss not being able to read your posts which have been a guide for the last 15 years.

    Bravo Zulu and very best wishes in your future endeavors.

    Bruce Coffin and Family
    Tupper Lake NY

  28. Barbara R. Leamer says:

    Sorry to hear this! Our family has spent summers in our house in Saranac Lake since 1957, but we rely on the Adirondack Almanack and articles from the Explorer to keep in touch with Adirondack news when we are in Virginia. You have always done such a wonderful job.
    Bobbie and Dick Leamer

  29. Balian the Cat says:

    This is stunning news at a time when I didn’t think I could be stunned much more. I am sure that there are clues in the article and in the comments above, but why the Explorer would make such a decision baffles me. In any event, thank you John. This was about the last fun, informative, inclusive site available to “us.” Fare thee well.

  30. John:

    I was very sorry to hear this unsettling news, but wish you all the best with the exciting New York Almanack, of course, that will undoubtedly well feature your continuing expertise and unrivaled devotion to the Adirondack dialogue, thinking and visioning of the highest caliber. You were very generous in your expressions of thanks to so many, but all of us know firsthand and foremost, YOU were the Adirondack Almanac in its creation, force of coverage, breadth and span, logic and action for 15 years benefitting our beloved and treasured Adirondack Park and quality of life, culture and community in so many countless ways. I have no doubt that even more great things are in store for you and us by your commitment to our mountain homelands, culture and People. Don’t hesitate to call on me if I can help or support your new directions in any meaningful way!

  31. M. Finn says:

    Good riddance

  32. Boreas says:

    John,

    I am surprised by the sudden news of your contract not being renewed. All of us have benefited from AA and your management of it over the years. I am sorry you are leaving and you will certainly be missed. But, as they say, when one door closes, another opens. Best of luck in your future endeavors – I am sure you will excel!!

  33. William G Ott says:

    Mr. Warren,
    This is sudden, What would it to take to keep this going. I know you have my email.
    And whatever happened to Don Crane.

  34. William G Ott says:

    First, DAN Crane. Second, reply at [email protected].

    • Dan Crane Dan Crane says:

      I’m still alive! Just not as prolific in my old age as I was years ago. Maybe I’ll make a comeback in retirement when I have more time. You can always follow my adventures at bushwhackingfool.com but prepare to time travel to the past as I am way behind there too!

      It is nice to be missed!

  35. Amy Godine says:

    What a shock and what a mighty loss, John. I’m stunned. The region will be much the poorer for this. The coverage of Adirondack history will suffer, too.

    You did a beautiful job.

  36. Ellen Rathbone Ellen Rathbone says:

    John…I heard about this from Evelyn Greene. I’m sorry to hear this news. I lived writing for you – it was one of the highlights of my time as a naturalist. Haven’t done much if it since I had to leave NY, and like the mountains, I miss it. I hope your next phase of life goes well.

  37. Caroline Yauger says:

    Hello Mr. Warren ? I just wanted you & all your staff to know that you will all be sorely missed ☹ When my company shut down back in 2012 I decided to go to college. I took a science class called “Survey of the Adirondacks”. I used many of your articles & writings for my research paper’s & at 40 plus yrs old at that time they were a huge help getting me through that class lol It is sad that you & your staff will no longer be publishing all the good as well as sometimes the bad information of the Adirondacks that so many of us look foreward to reading. I will be listening to your station. Again thank you & your staff for for your many years of hard work & dedication to the Adirondacks ?

  38. Mark Walp mark walp says:

    You will be missed, John!

  39. Bill Joplin Bill Joplin says:

    John, as someone who visits the Adirondacks only part of each summer and fall, I never knew much about daily life here and the issues confronting this region until you started the Almanac. You have provided an invaluable service to Adirondackers as well as to outsiders like me, and it is inexplicable to me why the Explorer should consider you dispensible. Their lack of appreciation and respect is so galling to me that I will never renew my subscription to their magazine, much less send them a yearly donation. Best wishes for the future, and please let your many fans know how you’re doing.

  40. Mary-Nell Bockman says:

    Wow, I’m also really shocked. This is hard to understand at such a time. Is there a place to sign up for the New York Almanack? I’ll miss your writing.

  41. Jon Hochschartner says:

    I’m sad to hear it. I’ll be checking out the New York Almanack.

  42. Kathleen Morrock says:

    Wow! I am shocked and saddened. I wish you good luck in all that you do.

  43. Thea Martin says:

    We’ve appreciated the excellence of the Adirondack Almanack and read it daily. As editor you have the credit for making this publication indispensable.
    I’m sorry to hear this turn of events.

  44. Jerry McGovern says:

    This has been my go-to each morning for many years – a site that educated and entertained. You will be missed, John. Thank you.

    Jerry McGovern

  45. Phillip A. Bobrowski says:

    I’m going to miss your voice here on the Almanack.

    BUT, I’ll soon be heading over to NewYorkAlmanack.com

  46. Naj Wikoff says:

    John, the Adk Almanac has grown to become a vital resource under your inspired leadership. One of the great assets you brought was attracting such a variety of thoughtful voices to the table. You’ve greatly expanded our conception and understanding of this region, its people, and the environment we so love. Plus, I look forward to hearing you describe the conditions for participating in the great outdoors every Friday. Most I’ll miss working with you. I am so sorry to learn that you’ve been asked to step down; you will be greatly missed.

  47. KvO says:

    I so admire the work you’ve done, and am very sorry to hear this news. It may have started as a labor of love, but you created something of great value to many people. Including me. Best of luck to you, and thank you.

  48. Charlie S says:

    scott van Laer says: “Bummer! I have so enjoyed writing, reading and commenting here. The Explorer is making a mistake.”

    My sentiments exactly! This seems weird! The new wave! You and this Almanack have been an oasis John. You allowed me and everyone else a voice which you don’t get everywhere nowadays. I cannot imagine this site being the same without you. Things sure do seem to be getting weirder by the day!

  49. Beau Bushor says:

    This is going to be a great loss.
    Thanks to all.
    ❤️?❤️☮️??
    Croghan, NY

  50. Shawn Bevins says:

    John,

    Thank you for everything. It’s been a pleasure to read the almanac and your writings. Best of luck in your future endeavors. You will be missed.

  51. Chris says:

    Does anyone know why this change is being made?

    Certainly news media is taking it very hard right now. I assume it is economics as seen from the new owners. Did John own this to start and then sell it to the current owners?

  52. Thatcher Hogan says:

    John, it will be great to continue reading your posts at

    NewYorkAlmanack.com

  53. Dave Mason says:

    Good luck with your next adventure. Perhaps in your new role you can track the current pandemic, it’s impact on different parts of the State, and what we might have done better. Years in the future, such a document will be of value to those not yet born. Important history is being created now. You’d be a good person to write it.

  54. Dan Cardozo says:

    Sorry to hear the news. I have just subscribed to NYAlmanack, and look forward to reading you there. Good luck!

  55. Deb Zack says:

    John-great loss for all of us. You have been and are a great historian and journalist, and a genius in communications of all types. You enabled so many Adk voices to be heard and spread-you are a leader and you will not be silenced. Just subscribed to New York Almanack and look forward to continue my daily “read all about it” from my favorite editor.

  56. scotty says:

    Well this is ironic. There is certainly confusion around the idea of journalism these days. To be clear: Real journalism is supposed to be WITHOUT a point of view. If it is pitching a point of view, that is called opinion.

    Wasn’t ‘journalism with a point of view’ the idea that started the Adk Explorer? Same for the Almanack? Both were open about this, even proud of it a few years ago. I don’t know anything about the Explorer now but previously, it had a strong agenda to push and its opinions got entangled with its news. I stopped reading it because of that. Same reason I can’t watch Fox news.

    As Almanack editor, John accepted different views but he always made his views known and he would aggressively jump into comments accordingly. Once I understood this about the Almanack, I read it with that in mind. It was a blog, a good one, with a strong editorial point of view. It didn’t pretend to be anything different.

    But it wasn’t journalism in any classic sense of the word. In these pandemic days, we need to be careful about knowing what is indeed factual news vs what is just a point of view. Getting that wrong could have deadly consequences.

    Good luck John!

  57. Jim Leach says:

    Not knowing what’s behind this change, I will say that I have read the Adirondack Almanack faithfully, every day, since my son first brought it to my attention years ago. I appreciate what John Warren has achieved here, and am sorry to see him go. Looking forward to following his work on New York Almanack.
    Jim Leach
    Hamilton, NY

  58. John Sullivan says:

    John — The Almanack has been my first look nearly every day for years. Whatever I can do to help turn this into an opportunity, I will. Thank you for what you’ve done.

  59. Dan Crane Dan Crane says:

    John,

    Well, that just stinks. Thanks again for the opportunity to contribute in a very minuscule way to the success of the Adirondack Almanack. I had a ball doing it. Good luck in all your future endeavors!

    Dan

  60. Wally Elton Wally Elton says:

    Sorry to hear the news, John. I’m pleased I was able to contribute in a small way.

  61. Annette Pisano-Higley says:

    Shocking and sad to hear John. You have been a kind, encouraging and supportive friend to me, as well as being founder, builder and sustainer of the Adirondack Almanack. You leave big footprints. Thank you so very much for giving me, and many other poets of the North Country, a chance to strengthen our voices here. I wish you the best on all your future endeavors- You will be missed! Will catch you on NCPR and at the New York Almanack of course. My family and I wish you and yours good health, good life, good writing and much peace and joy always….

  62. John Omohundro says:

    Thank you so much for what you’ve done John, and good luck in your next endeavor. I’ve been a daily reader of your AdAl since you began.

  63. Meredith says:

    The very best of luck, John. We’re sure going to miss you here!

    What Dave Gibson, Scott van Laer, Phil Terrie, Suzanne, Boreas, Dan Plumley, Amy Godine, Ellen Rathbone and many others, said!

    And keep giving it to the snowmobilers!

    Meredith

  64. Ed Zahniser says:

    You go John!

  65. Peter Bauer says:

    John:

    In the early 2000s, I knew I had hit a vein in Albany when somebody scolded me for “what you said in that Explorer article.” In the last 10 years I knew I had hit a rich vein when I heard, as I often have, a comment about “what you wrote on the Almanack.” 15 years ago you saw the changes afoot in the local media landscape and created a site and forum that created an opportunity for a variety of voices to be heard who were largely shut out in the local media reporting and editorial positions. A fine job well done my friend! You will be greatly missed.

  66. Lorraine H Pantaleo says:

    Tim is my brother and because of him we often got to read what John wrote. I am
    still a New Yorker (Chappaqua) but have long been dedicated to the survival of the
    Adirondacks. At age 90, I still appreciate growing up on Lake Champlain and the
    firm roots we inherited from there. This sudden dismissal (?) of a person who gave
    all of his readers so much is a sad sign of the lack of understanding of what is still
    important to many Americans, as well as, New Yorkers, preserving the values and the lands we cherish.

  67. Wayno says:

    IMO, The Adirondack Almanack has been one of the finest Web Sites on the internet for as long as I have been fortunate enough to be reading it. I am skeptical about how this new announcement can possibly mean the same for the future. Congratulations on a job well done Mr. Warren!

  68. John, Wendy and I moved to the Adirondacks twenty years ago, started what became the Adirondack Wildlife Refuge, and became steady followers of the Almanack. Years ago I posted a comment on wolf delisting, and you published it as an article. That encouraged me to start writing more, for the Almanack and our own web page, and this year I’m starting to self publish my own books, probably not best sellers, but suitable for lining the kitty box, or for starting fires in the fireplace. Thanks for the inspiration, and I’ll be following your progress at the New York Almanack. Steve

  69. John Sheehan John Sheehan, Adirondack Council says:

    John:

    Thank you for creating and nurturing this forum. It has always been a place that welcomed diverging points of view, while insisting that the discourse remained civil and productive. That is not an easy task. It requires constant learning and vigilance. But it has elevated the debates over land-use, planning, wilderness management and community development, while never losing sight of the park’s place in history. It also reminds us to take time to appreciate the arts and play in the woods or on the water. We are grateful to have had John for so long and look forward to working with him in his future ventures. We also plan to remain fans and contributors to the Almanack and hope the Explorer will continue to sustain its high quality.

  70. JOHN L ROBITAILLE says:

    John:
    Truly sorry to hear of your abrupt change in status with the Adirondack Almanac. Having been tied directly and indirectly to the Adirondacks for many years, I have found this publication to contain a wealth of information. The scope and in depth reporting is truly indicative of the effort that has gone into it. My many best wishes in your future endeavors.

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