Before being pushed out by the editor of the Denver Post in 1997, veteran journalist Jim Carrier [See bio] claims he had one of the best jobs in America, when he was able to roam the American West as a columnist, using the stage name the ``Rocky Mountain Ranger.’’ The assignment allowed him to travel 500,000 miles, witness 7,665 sunsets, while wearing 87 different pairs of Levis. Nice work if you can get it.
Rather than accept a less fulfilling role at the Post, where he knew he would just be miserable and rot away into oblivion, the award-winning journalist, author, civil rights activist and entrepreneur simply cashed in his chips, spent his annuity on a sailboat, and ``sailed away, quite literally.’’
Shortly after leaving the Post in 1997, Carrier plunked money down on a sailboat, named it Ranger, and set out to sail the Pacific. In 2002, he hit the waves again, this time sailing across the Atlantic and into the Mediterranean. His enthusiasm for navigation and telling a compelling story, in fact, led him to create a technology company, IntelliTours, which creates GPS-guided audio tours.
Though he certainly has had his ups and downs since throwing caution to the wind, Carrier tells me he’s happily starving in Madison Wisconsin, where his wife is getting her PhD.
``When blogging made writing cheap,’’ Carrier said, ``I took up the lucrative field of documentary filmmaking.’’ In 2005, after losing his home and office in Hurricane Katrina, he wrote, directed and narrated, ``Faces in the Water’’, a documentary film featured in the Civil Rights Memorial Center. The film documents the sacrifices, tragedies and triumphs of the human rights revolution that transformed the South and the nation. It was made for the Southern Poverty Law Center about the Maya Lin Civil Rights Memorial.
So passionate is this former Denver Post columnist bout civil rights activism, that he developed Tolerance.org, which has won two Webbys for activist Web sites.
Carrier has authored ten books, including, ``A Ship and the Storm’’ and ``A Travelers Guide to The Civil Rights Movement ; other articles written by him have appeared in the National Geographic, the New York Times, USA Today, the Washington Post, the San Francisco Chronicle, and Orion and Cruising World magazines. In addition, his reporting has been broadcast on PBS, NPR and Wisconsin Public Radio, and included in Best American Science and Nature Writing 2010.
Before landing at the Denver Post in 1984, Carrier was managing editor of the Rapid City (SD) Journal from 1979 through 1984 and a broadcast editor, writer, news editor, and correspondent at the Associated Press from 1971 through 1979.
Most recently, Carrier is spending most of his time writing a book, making a film, volunteering at the River Food Pantry, a nonprofit in Madison Wisconsin, including a couple of nongovernmental associations that he started. He’s already created a film school, the Wisconsin Film School and an environmental group, Wild Warner.
Carrier lives in Madison, Wisconsin with his wife, Trish O’Kane, a journalist and PhD candidate in environmental studies at the University of Wisconsin. In addition to being an avid banjo player, he enjoys cooking.
July 2, 2012