Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Paper folds, paper opens

On Saturday I received the final issue of The Kourier, the weekly newspaper in Willow Creek.

The 39-year-old paper’s final edition includes a giant headline that reads “FAREWELL” atop Publisher J.F. Garst Jr.’s last editorial.

Garst informs readers that he’s sold his press, his forklift and that “this is probably the final editorial message which you will be reading from me.” He thanks all those who supported the paper and writes “The Kourier has been good to us.”

The last year or two have been difficult for Garst. He battled some health problems and then his wife died. He often wrote about his grief. It was from the heart.

Garst bought the paper back in 1974. That’s 32 years of publishing a paper – or roughly 1,600 weekly deadlines! That’s hard to imagine.

Garst deserves a happy retirement and I wish him the best.

I doubt there’s any coincidence that last week I saw the premiere edition of the Bigfoot Valley News, published by Yvette Troyna. It’s owned by Jerry and Jo Anne Troyna. It’s a weekly newspaper, which is published on Wednesdays and sells for 50 cents – just like The Kourier.

I didn’t get to read the first issue, only the second. So far, it looks like a small town newspaper, with lots of first-person commentary and first-person news reports. In issue No. 2 there were two photos of the publisher, an attractive looking woman who looks like she spends a lot of time down by the river (apologies to Neil Young.)

It will be interesting to see how the paper develops. I’m sure there’s a niche in Willow Creek, and the Bigfoot Valley News should be able to fill it.

The key is stamina. Week after week, the publisher has to be prepared to put out a paper – like Garst did for 32 years.

Some papers will be better than others. Some issues will be gems, some will be crappy. Some papers will be assembled with high spirits, some while you have the flu and wish you were dead. If you base your decision on when to publish on "how you feel." then fuck it. You might as well fold up. Deadlines are a bitch and they don't get any easier.

Deadlines are mandatory, not optional. Circumstances may cause you to be late, but you can’t skip an issue unless you're physically incapable of doing so. Even then you should strive to find an alternative.

Unless, of course, you’re the Humboldt Advocate, which is a weekly paper that comes out every two weeks except when it doesn't.

3 Comments:

Blogger Yvette said...

Jack,
For some time I have wanted to find a moment to thank you for your insightful words regarding the newspaper world, but as you well know, one deadline bleeds into the next.
We started Bigfoot Valley News as a local paper,filling the Kourier's shoes, but quickly realized that our natural passions lie in an oxymoron: positive news.
Taking this approach to reporting what is right with our neck of the woods has kept my stamina intact. We've met 38 deadlines on time to date, and just like you said, some issues have reflected a feeling of "I'm publishing in my pajamas with the flu today" while others sparkle with our love for this local mom an pop operation.
I bought the paper from my folks at the turn of the new year, and we have doubled our circulation to include coastal communities appreciating our positive news supplement.
My advice to readers is, find what you love to do and find a way to do it as a career. Life is too short to settle for anything less! Once that has been settled, the old saying about 'the worst day fishing is better than the best day working' won't flow off the tongue as easily!
Yvette Troyna
Owner/Publisher
Bigfoot Valley News
Your local source for positive news

3:46 PM  
Blogger Counter Intelligence said...

Don't let Yvette's warm smile fool you -- she doesn't pay her bills.

Beware business owners -- don't let her charge!!! And, don't enter into a long-term contract with her. She'll sell the paper and you'll never get what you paid for.

6:32 PM  
Blogger Jen O. said...

I just Googled "Yvette Troyna" in hopes to find a phone number and street address for her - this was the first thing that the search engine produced. I'll have to look in to this newspaper of Yvette's, although it's been two years since the posting here, I'm not too optimistic that it will still be in operation, knowing Yvette.

If anyone knows where I can find her, please contact me. I'm her former business partner from 2002-2005 in Ventura County where she skipped town and owes me a lot of money.

Thanks,
Jennifer Overholt
email: jenniferoverholt@mac.com

3:58 PM  

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