About The Runner
The first issue of The Runner community newspaper hit the streets in September 1976. Back then it was called the Papago Runner. The newspaper has had only one editor over all those years, Stanley Throssell, who is a member of the Tohono O’odham Nation from Chukut Kuk District on the Tohono O’odham Nation.
The original name, Papago Runner, was chosen because in Tohono O’odham history running was the way news and information was carried from village to village. O’odham were renowned for their running ability, and they used it as a means of communicating among communities, to survive attacks from rival tribes, and as friendly competition among villages and even among nearby sister tribes.
History of The Runner
The newspaper got off the ground when in the summer of 1976 Throssell approached then tribal chairman Cecil Williams and proposed a community newspaper. Williams agreed, and pulled a small newspaper operating budget together using a combination of federal grant and tribal money. The Papago Runner started out as a community newspaper financed by the tribal government operating on less than $15,000 a year.
Records and memory are sketchy after more than three and a half decades, but about 1980 Throssell again approached the tribal government officials, this time proposing that the tribe provide less and less financial support over three years, finally stopping funding completely. The Runner became an independent community newspaper, generating operating revenue and profit through the sale of advertising and circulation sales. It has operated this way for 30 years.
Operating as an independent community newspaper on an American Indian reservation is unusual. Almost all community newspapers based and operating on Indian reservations are owned and funded by tribal governments.