So, do you notice anything different this week?Twenty-five years ago this week a small group of journalists and businesspeople introduced something a new publication to Farmington. This newspaper.
By: Nathan Hansen, The Farmington Independent
Twenty-five years ago this week a small group of journalists and businesspeople introduced something a new publication to Farmington. This newspaper.
In that first issue a quarter-century ago, that group made some promises to the people of Farmington. They pledged to provide, “a healthy balance of the traditional and contemporary by reporting local Farmington news, business and school (scholastic/sports) news, community government news, local events, human interest features and a weekly favorite recipe from our readers as well as being available to expertly serve all the community’s advertising needs.”
Nobody from that original group is involved in this newspaper anymore, and the product we send out every week bears little resemblance to that first issue. But, with the exception of the weekly recipe, we feel like we’re doing a pretty good job keeping the promises set forth all those years ago.
The operation of this paper has changed dramatically over the years. When I started working for the Independent in September of 1997 we had a single phone line with call waiting. If you needed to make a call you had to hope nobody else had the same idea. If you were in the middle of an interview and an incoming call beeped you often had to put your questions on hold and take a message. When there were just two reporters on staff to produce both the Independent and our sister paper, the Rosemount Town Pages, each week that wasn’t usually an issue.
It was a pretty glamorous job, is what I’m saying. Never more so than the morning I came in to find the then-owner’s dog had left a big, um, mess on the floor.
Things have gotten better since then, at least in terms of telephone availability and Labrador waste. These days we’ve got four phone lines and sometimes even that’s not enough.
E-mail was still fairly rare when I started working here. And the Internet? Unless you were a big-city daily paper nobody really thought there was a need to be online.
And, of course, there’s the look. If you’re a regular reader of this newspaper the copy you’ve got in your hands might come as a bit of a surprise. It’s a change, I know, but we figured it was time. It’s been nearly 10 years since the last time we updated this paper’s look. A lot can change in that time.
This isn’t change just for the sake of change, though. The Independent’s new look is the result of several months of work, and the changes we’ve made are meant to make the paper look more modern and give us some new ways to bring you information.
The new look will provides more space on the front of the paper for us to tell you what’s inside. And the redesign of a few key pages — our Looking back and Events pages chief among them — should allow us to bring you more information in an easier-to-read format.
It’s not all changing, of course. At its core the mission of the Farmington Independent remains the same as it was when that first issue rolled off the press. Just like we have every week for the past 25 years we plan to continue bringing you an collection of information you need, information you want and information that you might not have known you either needed or wanted, but that you enjoy all the same.
Still no recipes, though. Unless someone has a really good one for chocolate cake.
Much as those early journalists did when they put that first issue out in April of 1984, we believe this is a community paper in every sense of the word. We want you to feel a sense of ownership in the product that hits your mailboxes or store shelves every Thursday. That is reflected in some new elements in this design, from the directory of volunteer opportunities to the “Looking around” feature that asks readers to share their photos — their own views of the city they call home.
We’ve also added a new section on the Opinion page called Mini rants. Think of it like a concentrated letter to the editor. It’s a chance to get your point across in a very brief space. This week’s entries all come from our web page but we’ll accept them however you want to get them to us.
Community involvement doesn’t end there, though. We want to know what you think of the work we do. Whether it’s a comment on the new design or a critique of our work in general, hearing what you have to think can only help us make things better for everyone.