Making a tough decision to strengthen our paper

by Jeff Andres

ECM Regional General Manager

In my 17 years of working for ECM Publishers, I have been a part of some tough decisions. Among the tougher ones was the decision to not renew our lease and close our office in North Branch Feb 15. The ECM Post Review will continue to be the newspaper to read for news from North Branch, Rush City, Harris, Stacy and surrounding areas. We just don’t have an office in North Branch anymore.

This was not an easy decision and one that has been contemplated for a few years as fewer and fewer people actually walked into our office. As we added the ability to pay for subscriptions and to place classified ads online with a credit card, we have seen the number of people walking into the office decline. Instead of dropping off photos or story ideas, these items are now e-mailed to us. There are also a lot of subscriptions that are still mailed to us.

The choice came down to making the paper stronger or keeping an office in North Branch. An office is just bricks and mortar; a newspaper has a rich history as the eyes and ears of recorded history for our area.  I do understand there will be a few people who will miss walking in our door. To those of you, I am deeply sorry.

The technology we use to publish our 51 newspapers is changing fast. When I started, we were gluing ads down on a piece of large paper with little squares so we could get the size just right. We were using computers back then, but maybe a tenth of what we use them now. Today, we would be lost without these computers and the networks that connect all of our computers, servers, printers, scanners and everything else we use every day. These computers and networks have also allowed us to do our jobs much more efficiently. And they allow us to do our jobs from anywhere. Yes, we still have to and will continue to attend all of the school board meetings, council meetings, county board meetings, and everywhere else we go to be informed, but writing those stories can be done anywhere.

The newspaper industry is changing, but really every business is changing. In order to remain in business, companies are taking a look at how they operate their businesses in order to become more efficient at what they do. This will help businesses remain viable now and into the future. ECM Publishers is making many changes every day and really taking a hard look at what we do and how we do it.

Once again, the ECM Post Review is still your best source for news around the North Branch area. Our editor, reporters, and sales person are just a little further down the road in Cambridge with the associates from the Scotsman and Isanti County News.  You can still call us at 651-674-7025, fax us at 763-689-4372, e-mail our editor at derrick.knutson@ecm-inc.com, or mail or visit us at 234 S. Main St., Cambridge, MN 55008.

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