HE WAS THERE at the beginning of this newspaper. Roughly half the pages we published between 2009 and the pandemic lockdown in 2020 reflected his work. It’s quite a legacy even before you add in the page creation he did earlier than that at the twice-weekly community newspaper The Independent.
John Laragh died June 14 at Columbia Memorial Hospital. His obituary appears on Page 20. He grew up and attended public school in Columbia County and eventually graduated from Bard College.
He wasn’t secretive but he didn’t care much for small talk. What he did have was tremendous skill in mastering our constantly changing digital layout tools. He took on that task because he knew we needed these tools to publish the newspapers that our neighbors would want to read.
He mastered so much software over so many years that it seemed sometimes like the the tools had mastered us. And still he persevered.
It helped that he was an artist. He had studied photography at Bard. Some of his black and white prints are stunning, with just enough held back to suggest a mystery that the viewer is invited to unlock.
He took all his work seriously, including the responsibility to keep his community informed about local news. I feel grateful to have known him.
Memorial contributions in John Laragh’s name may be made to the Community Rescue Squad, 283 Mountain View Road, Copake, NY 12516.
Help save democracy
DEMOCRACY CAN’T SURVIVE in this country if no one is willing to report on the actions of local government. That reporting is what The Columbia Paper does each week. We’re looking for a few honest people with a little bit of spare time to join … and get paid. Seriously.
You can work from home on your computer as long as you can access the internet. You’ll need a car unless you live next door to a town or village hall, the county office buildings in Hudson or the administrative offices of a school district. You’ll need a phone, too, preferably a smart one.
We pay for the stories our reporters write and the photos they take and transmit to us. We can give you support in the form of planning stories and guidance in terms of editing.
The people who buy our newspaper expect our news stories to be accurate, fair and informative. Meeting those standards is what you would be doing.
Climate change has begun, the upcoming elections will determine how much aid this county receives from Washington and Albany, we’re not yet finished with the latest pandemic and your community desperately needs some potholes filled. Local government has a role to play in all of these topics and a lot more.
If the process of listening, learning and sharing what you’ve heard doesn’t interest you, don’t consider journalism.
But if you are up to the challenge of sharing news in our weekly print newspaper and on our website, https://www.columbiapaper.com we should talk as soon as possible.
Email something you have written—it doesn’t have to be news—and send it to: Parry Teasdale, Editor, The Columbia Paper, P.O.Box 482, Ghent, NY 12075.