Ed Quillen the Truth Teller: Get our facts right, be entertaining…tell the truth — Allen Best

Here’s a recap of the recent Ed Quillen anthology events, written by Allen Best for The Mountain Town News. Click through and read the whole article — a tribute from one of Ed’s close friends. Here’s an excerpt:

Ed Quillen once advised me that a journalist must avoid two fatal errors: to be inaccurate and to be dull. Rarely, if ever, was he either, as occurred to me during two events in his honor recently, the first in his hometown of Salida, Colo., and then two nights later in Boulder, Colo.

An anthology called “Deeper into the Heart of the Rockies,” has been published, containing 100 of his columns culled from among the 1,500 columns published in The Denver Post between 1999 and 2012, when he died. The book, a sequel to his previous anthology, called “Deep in the Heart of the Rockies,” is primarily the result of work by Abby Quillen, the daughter of Ed and Martha. She asked me to assist in selecting Ed’s best columns, and I did my best, working through 300 to 400 of them, mostly late at night.

I wasn’t of much help to Abby. I saved more than I discarded. What struck me again was how consistently good Ed was, and how extremely rare the duds. He was often funny and always informative, particularly in providing context of geography and history about this or that issue of the day, something that journalism does poorly. Most deliciously, you never knew exactly where he would take you. He tended to be liberal or, as one blogger described him in The Denver Post after his death, “mountain libertarian.” You wouldn’t bet on his conclusions. His arguments were buttressed by facts, not girded by some ossified ideology. Particularly in his later years, he was a first-order intellect, what the historian Patty Limerick, who has academic credentials that Ed lacked, describes as a populist intellectual…

…at a college auditorium at Boulder…former State Senator Dennis Gallagher, a professor of Shakespeare before he got into politics, bent and troweled Ed’s words [Why bother to learn the Colorado dialect?] to maximum oratorical effect. Just as much fun was Greg Hobbs, a former water lawyer by practice and now a Colorado Supreme Court Justice, who read one of Ed’s best columns about water: “Water is easier to understand if you treat it like a religion.”

Coyote Gulch links to Ed Quillen here and here.

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