Editor's note: This column originally published in The Observer on July 1.
M any of you know this, but as of today, The Observer is no longer under the ownership of Western Communications. We are now a part of EO Media Group, a media company that owns the East Oregonian, Wallowa County Chieftain and Daily Astorian, to name a few.
While we here at The Observer are breathing a huge sigh of relief — and even celebrating — that we are no longer under the debt that crippled WesCom, I’m writing for a different purpose today.
And that is to say “Thank you!” to you, the readers who have stuck with us through what has been a very trying time.
I’m not going to write a big sob story, but I will say that the last 5-1/2 months since the bankruptcy was announced have been a major challenge, and much of it has been already laid out in the pages of this newspaper. We lost our printing press. We lost more than one-third of the members of our Observer family. We have fought and toiled to get a paper out each Monday, Wednesday and Friday. To call us a skeleton crew would be putting it mildly. I would be lying if I told you there were days when I didn’t want to throw in the towel myself, wondering if we would indeed see the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel.
What kept us going, however — right along with how much the people in this office care for one another and the constant reminders from our undeterred publisher, Karrine Brogoitti, that “It’ll be fine!” — was the encouragement we received from many of you, our loyal readers. You wrote letters to the editor. You dropped in and said “Hi.” You believed in us. Many of you kept your subscriptions. You let it be known in many ways that you valued the importance of small town journalism during a time when there was a very real chance it could leave our
I think I speak for the rest of the staff when I say your support fortified us to keep going, even when we — collectively as well as individually — were at the end of our rope.
So again, thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
That said, while the purchase and changeover in ownership is complete, there will be some growing pains and transitioning to endure before we are entirely back to the news operation we want to be. In the coming weeks, we plan to add back positions in the newsroom. With that will come the ability to once again dig deeper and provide in-depth reporting.
We’ll be learning new software and interfaces here in the office designed to streamline our work and allow us to work more efficiently. The end result will be a news medium that is clean, accurate and informative.
I know from some of the calls, emails or letters we have received that some of our readers have been disappointed in the quality or amount of the content lately, and we’ve lost some subscribers as a result. I believe that we can win back those we lost, as well as win back any trust that may have been lost, by putting out the best product we can.
I believe that with the addition of people back into the newsroom and with the new interfaces, we will begin to rebuild, strengthen and re-imagine our online presence as well. We, along with many of our readers, value the print side. That won’t change. But we are also compelled to get accurate news to you as quickly as possible through our website and social media platforms.
And while we strive to make these changes and improvements, please know it won’t be an overnight process. It will take time to hire people. Time to learn new programs. And time to adapt. However, The Observer will meet these challenges head-on, without sacrificing quality.
We — and I include you as our readers in that “We” — have endured the worst of these times at The Observer. To quote one of my favorite movies: “The night is darkest just before the dawn. And I can promise you one thing — the dawn is coming.” Hang on with us just a little bit longer through this transition, and we’ll not only see that dawn, but the full daylight that comes with it.
I don’t have to ask you to do that, though, because I know you will.
After all, you already have.
And we’re grateful for it.