An overview of the cottage Grove High School job fair in early June.

This edition of The Chronicle marks a milestone – a bittersweet one. 

Before purchasing the paper in February 2019, I spoke to several publishers of weekly newspapers around the country for guidance and insight. They all counseled to “change printers every year” to keep leverage in the relationship and maybe save a few hundred dollars a year by jumping around to different printers.

That sounded awful to me. Our team met with the leaders of Oregon Web Press, and developed a collaborative partnership that has served us well over the past 3 1/2 years. Steve, Matt, Nancy, Mark, Joseph, and Nichole – among others – have helped our paper evolve its look and quality. 

We were among eight newspapers that found out four weeks ago that OWP would no longer be printing our newsprint products. Old press. Fewer staff with the expertise. Not cost effective anymore. We’ll miss our friends in Albany. 

After the devestating body blows delivered by the pandemic and wildfires the past two years, this felt like a potential knockout punch. 

Thankfully, it is not. 

Last week, I met with Mark in our Springfield office. He’s the publisher of the Klamath Falls newspaper, and the regional president of Adams Publishing Group. He and Terry, the regional sales director for western states, have worked with us and other local newspapers to continue publishing our print products. APG also prints the Eugene Weekly.

Nevertheless, there is a considerable cost increase associated with the delivery of the papers from a printer three hours away. 

The news and information business is not cheap, when done well. I often tell people that print isn’t dead, bad print is dying off. 

It’s expensive to provide quality journalism at the hyper-local level. It’s cheaper to fill up the paper with news-as-commodity, wire-service content, press releases, and other pablum. 

Telling meaningful stories about the people and places in our small and rural communities takes a commitment, and will always be our North Star. 

The Chronicle’s 14 awards from the Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association announced Monday help prove that there is great storytelling around the lives of people in small and rural towns who have been left behind by corporate-owned news organizations. 

The Chronicle’s special high school graduation magazine, published last week, is another great example. 

You won’t find that product in Eugene or anywhere else in the southern Willamette Valley. Photos and stories from seven area high schools; a keepsake with memories for a lifetime.

Our business model works. People love our product, in part because of its unique-and-differentiating content. And it’s not by accident that our peers have awarded The Chronicle 41 journalism awards in the past three years.

This latest haul, by the way, reflects the work of people from 2021, when the paper, due to the ravages of the pandemic, had only one full-time employee – our executive editor – most of the year. 

And speaking of Erin, her wedding to Lance last week at Loloma Lodge in McKenzie Bridge, was a lifetime experience for all who attended. 

It was wonderful catching up with former Chronicle reporter and photographer Emma and her friend Nate, seeing Pam and Les, Liam, Stevie and Sean, and Joey. It was equally great meeting Darcy, Josh, Michigan, Brittany, Wes, Dawn, and Roxanne.

Stan from Cascade Home Center stopped by the Springfield office with inserts for the paper. The longtime store manager in Cottage Grove and Creswell explained that he’s changing roles within the company, leading a new initiative that he helped create. I also spoke with Austin, who is with the marketing team at Cascade. 

We participated in the Cottage Grove High School job fair early in June, and met many students, teachers, and local business owners. 

Two groups of nearly 100 students came through during the three-hour event in the school’s gymnasium, which looked more like a circus atmosphere with color tents and displays – and lots of goodies – festively displayed. 

The Chronicle’s trucker caps were a big hit, by the way. 

Lacey was our primary contact in setting up the event and coordinating on site; Vickie (CGHS), Cherie (PeaceHealth), Linda (Middlefield Oaks), River, Chalice, and Shawn (all of Fun!), Allison (student photographer), Kory (teacher at Al Kennedy), Carmela (an exchange student from Madrid, Spain), Mikayla (student), Porter (student), Janice (CG Police Department), Holly (student), Taylor (student), Isaiah (student), Ricardo (CGHS business teacher), Brady (student), Walker (student), Haylie (student), Austin (student), Sydnee (student), Jayda (student), and Kailyn (student). 

I wasn’t lyin’ … we met a lot of people. The students were bright and inquisitive, and we hope that a few will explore opportunities with our business, too.

Noel Nash is publisher of The Chronicle.