I'm That Guy is a collection of "Outtake" columns by Rick Outzen that he published in his weekly newspaper, The Independent News. The columns show his struggle to help his paper and Northwest Florida battle the "storms" of hurricanes, oil spills and corrupt politicians. Someone has to be that guy that challenges the status quo. Rick Outzen is that guy.
Rick writes about covering Hurricane Ivan, the sensational murders of Byrd and Melanie Billings, and the BP Oil Spill. He also writes about his heroes and mentors, being a father of three daughters, and his Mississippi roots. His voice is unique and rare in this day of corporate news media. Rick isn't afraid to poke fun at himself. He jokes that he only knows 500 words, and he just has to put them in a different order every week to complete a column. In Northwest Florida, readers will argue over his columns, but they have to read them every week. That is just the way Rick likes it.
Rick Outzen is the publisher and owner of the Independent News in Pensacola. He created the alt-weekly newspaper in July 1999 to provide an independent voice on the issues facing Northwest Florida.
Battling hurricanes, recessions and angry politicians, the IN has not only survived, but thrived, while helping drag the Florida Panhandle into the 21st century. In 2005, Rick launched his influential political blog, aptly named “Rick’s Blog.”
His coverage of the 2009 Billings’ murders landed him a profile in the New York Times and a position as a contributor to The Daily Beast, Context Florida and Ring of Fire Radio. His relentless reporting on the 2010 BP oil spill won him international recognition for his insights on the environmental disaster.
Rick grew up in the Mississippi Delta and transplanted to Florida in 1982. His heroes are Hodding Carter II, publisher/editor of the Delta Democrat Times, Noble Prize-winning author William Faulkner and his father.
From Carter, who won a Pulitzer for his editorials, Outzen learned that small newspapers can make a difference and their voice can be heard on a national level. Faulkner believed writers can only learn from their mistakes and should strive to be better than those before them. His father was a master storyteller who taught him how to capture the attention of a reader.
“From these men, I learned that words matter,” Rick says. “I strive to make mine count.”