Opinion » Lingo Yarns

A look back-Part 1

The first few days away I revisit what got me here

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It was weird this week. Seeing a new issue of Boise Weekly in the newsstands and racks and not necessarily knowing what was inside. I had an inkling, but by and large a lot of the stuff I had not read prior to it getting published. It is strange not to be a part of something that I've been working on for five years.

Sometimes an editor leaving a paper will take the opportunity to have a last word, a last statement. Rather than subject readers to a diatribe of thanks, we let the new guy establish his rule over his new dominion. I felt it was better to leave quietly. But, with this blog, I can say what I want, how I want it.

While to many, it may seem that I held just about every position at the paper, and in actuality I just about did, it was a consequence of a growing paper, not my flighty tendency. When Sally and I bought the paper in August, 2001, circulation was down, revenues were more than half of what they were today, the staff was demoralized over the unknown factor of who we were and what was going to happen to their jobs.

There were many difficulties those first six months. Expenses were too large to support the 20 staff. The ad to edit ratio was out of control. And, with the impact of 9/11 one month later, Sally losing her consulting position with National Airlines due to the airplane crisis, and taking over a newspaper with unknown problems until we discovered them hiding in the corner, needless to say, it was a difficult time.

To ensure the future of Boise Weekly we had to take drastic measures. We reduced the staff to a skeleton crew of seven people. Sally and I were both working nearly 80 hours per week or more. I took on art direction, ad design, editing, writing and was delivering newspapers. I even tried doing some sales during that time. Even still, by January, 2002, we almost closed the paper down. I remember sitting with Sally at the kitchen table at our apartment on 8th Street and making the go-no go decision. Closing it down would have meant losing everything we had saved and scraped together to invest in Boise Weekly. It would have meant starting over our careers, beginning to save again for retirement, our kid's education, any equity we may have built up during the previous 10 years of professional life. But we stuck it out, rolling debt around, taking out additional credit and we limped along until ads started selling again in the spring.

next installment to come soon