In the newspaper business, and particularly for sports journalists, you work on most holidays. “Nights, weekends, and holidays,” in fact, is what we stressed during interviews. It’s not by choice – it’s simply when sports leagues schedule games and events, so you need reporters, photographers, editors, designers, and many other folks who produce content – online and in print – working on those days.
When I was part of a start-up department at ESPN, we had assembled most of our new hires by Thanksgiving 2006 as we prepared to launch in January 2007. While we had plenty of “mock production drills” at that time, it would be the only instance of not having to work on Thanksgiving. So we threw a massive Thanksgiving dinner for everyone. At ESPN, most people came from “somewhere else,” so the fellowship meant more than the food, I’m sure.
While working on the Sports desk at The Miami News and later at The Palm Beach Post, our sports editor Leo Suarez would always bring in heaping helpings of Cuban Thanksgiving from his home. Everyone working on Thanksgiving looked forward to his arrival with his kids, all with arms full dishes brimming with food: Turkey, roast pork, white rice, black beans, plantains, yuca con mojo. And flan, of course.
There is no substitute for people who love and support you. It didn’t feel like work on those busy days; we were a family, eating and creating together – while on a deadline.
Those memories are as fresh as Aunt Margie’s rolls coming out of the oven, especially vivid today, after the outpouring of support for The Chronicle these past few weeks. Folks from our communities – and beyond – have affirmed our value and belief in our mission: Serve readers with credible hyper-local news and information.
That’s beyond meaningful at this place and time. According to a new report from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, released last Thursday, the rate of newspaper closures has accelerated to 2.5 a week in 2023.
The report states that more than 130 papers have closed or merged this year, and the country is on track to lose a third of its papers since 2005 by the end of next year, the report’s researchers found. Over half of counties in the United States have just one or no local news outlets.
We’re fortunate in southern Lane County, where The Chronicle is among several news and information options. Our focus is on the communities that otherwise have no coverage – Springfield, Creswell, Cottage Grove, and Pleasant Hill.
While our North Star is hyper-local coverage, the larger issue of access to credible news and information goes coast to coast.
According to the authors of the report, Northwestern visiting professor Penny Abernathy and project director Sarah Stonbely, since 2005 the U.S. has lost nearly 2,900 newspapers and 43,000 journalists.
The Chronicle is attempting to fill that void in our area as corporate media continues to ignore small towns and rural areas. And we need your help to do it.
We launched our nonprofit – The Chronicle Foundation – in 2023 specifically to help ensure we can continue and expand upon our coverage of education and all nonprofits in our area. A few items to note so far:
• Our high school sports coverage highlighted more than 650 athletes and coaches throughout the fall sports season. We kicked it off with a 32-page special section in August, filled with stories and utility such as rosters, schedules, and team photos.
• No one else would have covered Springfield High football’s resurgence under Frank Geske, and the incredible seasons of running back Connor Dye and lineman Sam Keene. Without your support, no one would have covered the fact that every Thurston team made the postseason – including the boys soccer team for the first time in 16 years; or that Creswell’s volleyball team made its fifth straight quarterfinal appearance; or the incredible season Pleasant Hill volleyball enjoyed on the way to a second-place finish in the Class 3A state tournament; or Cottage Grove’s boys soccer team also finishing No. 2 in the Class 4A state tournament, or the Lions’ Carter Bengtson blowing out the competition to be the Class 4A state champion in cross-country.
• We’ve expanded our nonprofits coverage, regularly featuring the leaders and volunteers behind charity organizations in our community. The Chronicle’s “Here To Help” page runs each month, and spotlights the vital work being done in our communities.
• This week’s edition of the paper is celebrating “Giving Thanks” – bringing more attention to the nonprofits helping in our communities. You can put The Chronicle in the “grateful group” that has benefited from the kindness of others.
If you are in a position to support The Chronicle’s service to our small towns, now is the time to act. You can donate at our website, Chronicle1909.com, or mail a check to 655 A St., Suite E, Springfield, OR 97477, or call us at 541-515-6233. Your tax-deductible donation will help local news survive – and uplift our entire community.
We face plenty of hurdles in reporting and publishing news, some of which are out of our hands. We’ve heard from readers frustrated with inconsistent home delivery, and we’re actively addressing it with our USPS postmasters in the area, and our printer.
We take pleasure in finding solution-oriented approaches to our challenges; we thank readers for their patience – as well as their support – during these times.
The Chronicle turns 115 years old in a few months. Let’s keep it going for another century or two.
Noel Nash is the owner and the publisher of The Chronicle. You can reach him at [email protected]