Roots in reporting
“You don’t tell a 62-year-old broad you have potential. For about a year I didn’t do anything. I did odd jobs for people. I’d mow people’s lawns. Lois calls me up from Meeker and says, ‘I want you to go to work for me,’ I said doing what? She said writing. I was flabbergasted. It brought me back to life.”
— Jane Hume about Lois Wymore luring her back into the news business.
Although Jane Hume and Lois Wymore are many things, there are just as many they are not.
Hume is not a lawyer’s wife, nor is she the brains of the operation. “That’s Lois,” she said.
Wymore is not a pushover. Set a challenge before her and she’ll take it on, more than likely succeeding.
The friends of more than 20 years are not afraid to speak their minds or tackle a seemingly insurmountable task. They even started their own newspaper for a while in the process.
Known for finishing each others' sentences and interrupting and correcting one another when it comes to dates, the two have longtime ties and deep roots in Craig.
And they have the stories to prove it.
Start of a friendship
Although there are several years between the two in terms of age, the unlikely pair met working in journalism, and had an even more unlikely tie through Pat Wymore, first Hume’s good friend and later Lois’s mother-in-law.
“I knew about Lois when I first came to town because she wrote for the paper and she was also an artist, and I wanted to be an artist so I followed her,” Wymore said.
Wymore came from Larkspur and met her husband, Jay Wymore, in Craig.
Hume graduated high school in Boulder where she met her husband. After he completed law school they moved to Craig.
“Pat met me and went home and said I met this gal and I really like her,” Hume said. “Wayne (Pat Wymore's husband) said, 'oh she must be the wife of that new lawyer.' Pat said, 'I don’t think she’s a lawyer’s wife.'
"It was pretty funny. But that’s probably why I’m not married to him anymore.”
The two became really close when Wymore returned to college at CNCC in Rangely on a dare from her then 18-year-old daughter.
“My daughter was a sophomore and I was a freshman,” Wymore said.
Studying journalism, Wymore said she was in constant contact with Hume. She also kept busy by starting a school newspaper, The Collage.
“After she graduated somebody told her she ought to run to be on the board of control,” Hume said about Wymore. “The then-vice president says, ‘oh she’ll never make it.’
"That’s all you have to do.”
Hearing the vice president had said she wasn’t professional enough to make the board motivated Wymore.
“Well then I got serious,” Wymore said. “I went back and told him you don’t know what you’re talking about. And then I won.”
Hume and Wymore also took on the challenge of producing their own weekly newspaper, the New West, to create competition in the community.
“The Daily Press was going right down the tubes then,” Wymore said. “Competition makes everybody better. It puts more news out there. Everything at the Daily Press got better, the news, the layout.”
Printing a paper
At the beginning of the venture the two paired up with two others, but after much frustration and disagreement over the paper’s direction, the pairs parted ways, leaving Hume and Wymore with all the responsibility of producing the paper, stories and all.
Hume recalled preparing the first paper to be printed when she noticed what was supposed to be a photo of an elk on the front page.
“I said... that is a caribou,” Hume said. “Can you imagine if we had put that on the front page of our first paper?”
At first the two thought about giving up on the venture and returning money to advertisers who had paid to be in the first edition.
“We thought about closing down and one of the advertisers said, ‘I’m not taking that back. You’re printing a paper.,’" Wymore said. "So that’s what we did.”
The two wrote the articles, took photos, sold ads and did the marketing, editing, layout and design.
Even under all that stress, neither can remember ever being mad at the other.
“Well one time,” Wymore said. “You forgot to make a run sheet.”
Jobs in journalism
The two have filled other roles, both in journalism as well as in other areas of life in Moffat County.
Wymore served as editor of the Meeker Herald and Rangely Times, and had the challenge of combining the two papers amidst animosity and a transition from a physical layout to an online digital format in just eight weeks.
As a writer, Hume has covered all types of topics — especially art — served a stint as the editor of a newspaper in Hayden and worked in advertising.
After a rocky relationship with an editor/publisher led to her quitting a newspaper job, Hume even did odd jobs for a year before returning to the news world.
“You don’t tell a 62-year-old broad you have potential,” Hume said, referring to an argument with the publisher. “For about a year I didn’t do anything. I did odd jobs for people. I’d mow people’s lawns.
"Lois calls me up from Meeker and says, ‘I want you to go to work for me.’ I said, 'doing what?' She said 'writing'. I was flabbergasted. It brought me back to life.”
A lifetime of work
Along with trying to better the community's news outlets, Wymore advocates for the journalism program and student newspaper at CNCC, now called the Spartan Times.
Wymore and Hume are both teaching at CNCC in Craig this semester, Hume an art class and Wymore an introduction to media course, which she said is good for any community member. The course takes a look at mass media and culture.
Wymore said she got involved in journalism because she wants information. She even edits a newspaper every morning, something she has done for years.
“I think it’s one of the things that protects our democracy, what little democracy we actually have,” Wymore said about newspapers. “And I wanted to be a part of that. I don’t want to make someone’s mind up. I’d rather give them the information so they can make their own decision.”
And although the two know the shift from a daily print product to an online one is inevitable, they still feel nostalgic about the print product.
“There’s something about hanging onto a newspaper, to have it,” Wymore said.
“Like a book,” Hume said.
“Consequently both of us are newspaper people no matter what we do,” Wymore said.
“We’re nosy,” Hume said.
“Oh yeah you gotta be nosy,” Wymore said.
“And we love people,” Hume said.
“Our job to the public is really to get the information out there. This is a fact, do with the fact whatever you want,” Wymore said.
And though the two have their vices when they get together — “Talk about chain smoking when we’re together,” Wymore said — the two seem to have a great time, whether it's tackling a new project or reminiscing about projects in the past — especially the New West.
“We were busy,” Hume said.
“We were running like crazy,” Wymore said.
“It was so fun,” Hume said.
Darian Warden can be reached at 875-1793 or email@example.com