Since I'm constantly asked how things are going at the paper by those who actually see me, I figure I should probably let everyone in on what little I have to say. One thing I learned from the whole 'paper is going to close' episode is that there's no point in staying mum.
Perhaps the biggest change in recent weeks is that we're going to print the paper in Northhampton, Mass. now, not in Torrington. That's one more tie to the old company that's nearly cut.
That doesn't matter much to readers, I suppose, but it's a key step to separating entirely from the bankrupt former owner. That's a good thing.
A positive move for employees is that we are once again covered by health insurance, after a five week gap. That's obviously important. What's more, the insurance seems pretty good and the cost is a little lower than what we had before (though we still pay something like 40 percent of the premium plus a couple thousand more for using it, so I'm painfully aware of how much better city workers' benefits are than my own, for those who wonder).
We have three reporters working in Bristol now -- Jackie and I cover the city while Diane Church covers Plymouth and Burlington. There were a couple of weeks when we didn't have a towns reporter so we're glad to have her aboard. Even so, three is still one less than we had as recently as December, but perhaps we'll get a new police reporter one day soon. I sure hope so. We need it.
All in all, though, I see progress. We're moving in the right direction. Mike Schroeder, our boss, is looking for new office space. We all expect to move within a few months, but so far there's no word on where the new quarters will be.
I don't know if advertising or circulation is up, but I'd be surprised if it hasn't improved at least a little since Schroeder bought the paper. I know we had a circulation bump right off the bat.
I should repeat my plea that if you want a quality local paper, you buy it, read it and tell Schroeder or any of us what you would like to see in it. Tell us how it can get better. We're all eager to see this experiment work out -- and not just because it's nice to have jobs.
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Contact Steve Collins at firstname.lastname@example.org