First Rifle newspaper was called the Sharpshooter in 1889; the same year another newspaper, the Rifle Reveille, was established. In January of 1903, the Rifle Telegram was established. The first owners were L.L. Cummins and B.F. Miller.
After 1903, the Telegram had an interesting journey. In 1907, the Reveille moved into a wooden building. In 1913, the Reveille and Telegram merged under the name of the Rifle Telegram. A husband-wife team, J.H. and Susie Barley, took over the Telegram in 1933. Susie wrote a column for years, then assumed the publisher position when World War II began. In 1960, William Dunaway bought the paper. He also owned the Aspen Times and Glenwood Sage papers. That's when he switched the Telegram to the tabloid format, which is the current style. In 1990, the Telegram was purchased by Tom Griffith, who also owned the Valley Journal in nearby Carbondale, and the Free Weekly Newspaper in Glenwood Springs. In May 1990, a group of citizens started the West Valley Citizen to compete with the Rifle Telegram. In June 1990, the Telegram owner filed for bankruptcy, and within one month, the Telegram and West Valley Citizen merged under the name Citizen Telegram. In 1998, Morris Communications of Augusta, Ga. bought the CT, and in November 2000, Swift Newspapers purchased the CT and other Morris properties in Colorado.
History of frequency of publication: Always a weekly
Today's publication schedule and circulation figures: Publish every Thursday; circulation: 2,500
Number of full-time and part-time employees: Four
The Rifle Citizen Telegram was honored at the 133rd Annual Convention of the Colorado Press Association in Denver on Feb. 19. Rifle's newspaper received 16 individual awards and also took home awards for Editorial Sweepstakes, Advertising Sweepstakes and General Excellence
winner in the class two circulation division for 2010.
- Best Sports Event Story, first place, Dale Shrull
- Best Sports Column, first place, Dale Shrull
- Best Public Service, third place, Dale Shrull, Heidi Rice, John Gardner
- Best Photo Essay, second place, Kelley Cox
- Best News Page Design, third place, Dale Shrull
- Best Humorous Column, first place, Dale Shrull
- Best Editorial Layout and Design, second place
- Best Deadline News Reporting, second place, Heidi Rice
- Best Deadline News Reporting, first place, Dale Shrull
- Best Series, first place, John Gardner, Dale Shrull
- Best Agriculture Story, second place, Heidi Rice
- Best Small Space Ad, third place, Laurie Vagneur, Rob Fair
- Best Newspaper Promotion, second place, Dale Shrull, Melanie Handl
- Best Circulation Promotion, first place, Laurie Vagneur, Justin Cantwell
- Best Advertising Campaign, second place, Dale Shrull, Melanie Handl
- Best Advertising Layout and Design, second place, Kristin Bunte, Laurie Vagneur
Cover Western Garfield County - Silt to Parachute (Four communities - Silt, Rifle, Parachute, and Battlement Mesa). Historically rich region: Silt is a rural area with a prominent ranching and agricultural industry; Rifle has long been the home to some of the richest oil shale deposits in the world. The last oil shale boom went bust in 1982. The region is currently producing a high volume of natural gas from wells; Parachute was named in the early 1900s from the parachute-like formations on the neighboring cliffs. It's also home to a famous train robbery. It is rumored that a posse killed Kid Curry of the "Hole in the Wall" gang during the manhunt. In the movie "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid," the scene where they blow up a freight car with too much dynamite was very similar to the Parachute robbery, according to history buffs. Battlement Mesa is a community of approximately 4,000 built to provide homes for oil shale workers in 1980.
Over the years, the Telegram has been honored numerous times by the Colorado Press Association with advertising sweepstakes awards, editorial sweepstakes for writing and reporting, and was named the best mid-sized weekly in its category. Other awards have signified excellent photography and newspaper design. Editor Mike McKibbin has won several Colorado Press Association and Associated Press awards over the last 9 years. In 2006, he was chosen for a fellowship with the Institutes for Journalism and Natural Resources.