Jen's Journeys

As I type this column today, a few short hours ago the Daily Iowegian newspaper in Centerville made the public announcement on Facebook they would be merging with the Ottumwa Courier effective Friday, May 22. Many are unaware however my first position within the newspaper industry came after my first year of college working at the Daily Iowegian in my late teens.

With my love of sports, I applied for the sports writer/editor position. Shockingly having virtually no writing experience, I landed the job and it was my first introduction into journalism.

With that position I would attend sporting events for not only Centerville, but for the surrounding schools they covered as well including Seymour, Moravia and Moulton. Nearly every evening I was attending a different event at a different school.

It was tough as my sister was in her senior year of school at Seymour and I wanted to be present at all of her activities to support her, but with my job I couldn’t cover only Seymour at the time. I learned so much with that position and my writing expanded to covering other featured interests as well over my time spent there.

As much as I loved sports I found it to be far too difficult to continue in that role past the one-year mark however. I was always the athlete and I missed participating to the extent that I couldn’t find happiness as a spectator.

The Daily Iowegian has gone through several changes since my time spent there. Nothing any different than nearly all other newspapers have had to do as well to accommodate the ever-changing times.

With the introduction of social media applications such as Facebook and Instagram, the newspaper industries have taken major financial hits. With businesses having the ability to keep their customers updated and aware of any special announcements, sales and so on, advertising sales in print have gone done drastically over the years due to the ability of free advertising on these applications.

Unfortunately advertising is what keeps newspapers in business. Subscriptions are also a very big help and absolutely needed, but the advertisements themselves keep this industry afloat.

We are all experiencing hardships currently within the economy as times are the toughest any of us alive have ever experienced. Our businesses are struggling after being shut down for extended periods of time. Our family members in small communities are struggling having lost their jobs due to cutbacks.

These are the times no one is ever prepared for and unfortunately most of us were caught off guard. We have all hoped and prayed as restrictions were lifted we could all rise above and come out stronger on the other side. Time will still tell what the next few weeks, months and possibly even years could bring.

As I read through the comments on the Daily Iowegian’s post, their community is upset and frustrated with the loss of a localized news source. Their readers were caught off guard by the announcement and wishing there was a way to fix the inevitable.

Living in southern Iowa we are all too aware how often we can be forgotten in the metro news media stations. Generally if we are mentioned on the five, six or 10 o’clock news, it isn’t for the best reasons.

Since my return to the Times-Republican I have sacrificed a large portion of my time in helping build this newspaper up not only in print but online as well. It hasn’t been easy and has required a great deal of time, but with the knowledge of longtime Publisher Rhonda Bennett and the excellent help from the composition team of Cheryl Thompson and Kylie Kent before her return to college, we are working hard to keep you aware of the local news and happenings in our area.

Putting together a weekly newspaper can be stressful at times, especially with such a small staff handling every aspect of publication. We have some weeks that flow together easier than others.

We made a commitment when the pandemic began that we would continue to do our best each week to produce a paper that while it may be reduced in page numbers, it still brings forth the latest news. We won’t lie; our advertising has taken a very large hit in recent months. With businesses being forced to close we completely understand and expected this to happen. A business can’t advertise when they aren’t even allowed to be open for profit.

With businesses slowly being allowed to reopen again, we hope every single local business, big or small, is able to recover from the economic hits they have suffered. Throughout all of this the one thing we must remember as we begin to rebound, is to support our local businesses and please don’t forget us here at your local newspaper.

We want to be around for many years to come. To bring you the latest news, school highlights with our kids and all the weekly happenings you have valued in the past. As your business regains stability, please advertise with us. When your subscription expires, please renew with us. We work for you and none of this would be possible without you all. 

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