United we stand, divided should we return?
For the past 13 weeks, we’ve been combining our three newspapers into a bigger, better, combined edition to serve all our communities equally well during the COVID-19 crisis.
The crisis hasn’t ended, of course. We’re all quite literally holding our breath in hope of avoiding a second wave of the disease. And school, social, and community events, which normally provide unique content for each of our three separate publications, have yet to fully resume.
Still, things have calmed down enough for us to begin pondering what the “new normal” of our post-COVID world might look like.
As readers, you can help us make a better decision by letting us know whether you’d rather read one bigger, better paper or would prefer to go back to supporting separate publications for separate communities.
Either way, it won’t change how we cover the news. Whether we have separate papers for the Marion, Hillsboro, and Peabody areas or one countywide paper, we’ll still cover everything we’re able to in all our communities — not just in Marion, Hillsboro, and Peabody but also in Antelope, Aulne, Burdick, Burns, Canada, Durham, Eastshore, Florence, Goessel, Lincolnville, Lost Springs, Marion County Lake, Pilsen, Ramona, Tampa, Youngtown, and anyplace else you can think of, including legendary Oursler.
Having only one press run and only one set of pages to design has saved us time and money. We’ve been able to reinvest that time in expanded coverage of all our communities.
We might lose some of that if we go back to separate papers, and you as readers definitely will lose some stories, which of necessity might appear in only one or two of our three papers.
Times have changed. It used to be that what happened in one town was of little interest to people in other towns. Now we seem to be increasingly interested in the whole county, not just our own small corner of it.
Still, there’s a certain degree of pride in having a hometown paper exclusively for that community.
Over the years, most of the communities in the county had their own, separate newspapers, sometimes more than one — the Burns News, Canada Arcade, Durham Journal, Florence Bulletin, Lincolnville Lance, Lost Springs Trail, Tampa Star, and others.
Many of those nameplates were, in fact, combined over the years into the paper you now are reading. Will the Star-Journal and the Gazette-Bulletin join that list? The decision depends largely on you.
At a time when other newspapers, in county and out, appear to be cutting back on coverage and circulation, our three papers have grown dramatically both in content and circulation over the past 13 weeks.
If you would like to see that continue — or if you’d like us to go back, when events warrant, to separate publications and are willing to support them with subscriptions and advertising — give us a call, drop us a line, or holler at us from six feet away when you see us in some local store.
We don’t print our papers for us. We print them for you. We want to hear from you deciding what the “new normal” should look like.
— ERIC MEYER