Link to Owner Dr. Robert B. Pamplin Jr.

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Editor John Baker shares more about Molalla Pioneer changes, last week's column

Writing a column like last week's is always a bit of a strange creature. On the one hand I'm laying things out as honestly and succinctly as I can to an audience I hope will take a moment to ponder what I'm saying and reflect on it. See the big picture and how something like the community newspaper fits within it. On the other hand, I know there are many who won't do that, preferring to simply rely on time-tested clichés, old grudges (both real and imagined) against the paper, or simply a lazy thinking that is just easier to have than a real discerning look at the situation. I hope for former, but expect more of the latter. And in the first few days of the latest paper being published, I have not been disappointed in what my 30-plus years in this business has taught me. I would sigh a heavy sigh, but really…what's the point at this point? Last week's column was something I was hoping never to have to write, but the words I wrote were honest, forthright and accurate to a painful degree. That some people chose to act to type wasn't surprising. You can't help people see truth when all they really want to do is complain. It's a negative mindset and I don't have it – so I don't lend it much credence. What I wrote about last week is just how it is. The truth is, your local community newspaper delivers more than 500 stories (more if you count sports) a year from all segments of the Canby and Molalla society. We are the very essence of a cross-section of the local community, telling stories that no one else can or wants to – hell, sometimes we don't want to. But it's part of the job. My column last week was a part of that story, one that I hope has a happy ending. While Molalla's Pioneer has now reconfigured to try and keep itself viable, it's important to note that we saved the paper. By all rights it shouldn't exist, nor should it have existed for some time now. It has been carried and pushed along with poor finances for far too long. But we didn't want it to end – we value it and the people who are wise enough to see its value – both immediate and historical as vitally important cogs in the greater north valley realm. Call me a romantic, but Molalla has some special qualities. And so do we. Unfortunately, the Canby Herald and Molalla Pioneer are essentially on an island when it comes to sustainability. We rely on our customers and our readers to grasp the value that we provide, a value that so many other entities try to diminish. Ever wonder why new things pop up and the first institution they try to devalue is the local paper? Because we're still the best, most economically realistic advertising availability there is and even with less, we do more. It's a marvel of the institution and the people in it. And every new podcast, website or social media start-up knows it and wants a piece of the pie. But in the end, we're still the best option. And for the foreseeable future, we will remain so. Other than that, we get very little support – 99.9 percent of our thousands of readers online and with the print product like and appreciate what we do. Unfortunately, the miniscule fragment that doesn't seems to be the loudest and most obnoxious. At times in this job, it's hard to remember that there is a mass of humanity that appreciates what we do when the only voices we hear are those degrading us and our efforts. We work hard, we work intelligently, and there isn't anything "fake" about what we do. We aren't perfect, but we are honest and come from a place of integrity all the time. If you knew us, you'd understand that. But few choose to get to know us, again relying on clichés and outmoded forms of thought regarding the newspaper. Personally, I've had enough of that lazy thinking. I have no problem extolling the virtues of an undermanned, overworked, underappreciated staff that wants to deliver quality stories to communities that have a lot of quality. And we do it – week after week. Those that say otherwise have an ignorance that passes all understanding. So, I don't worry about them. I know us and "us" is pretty good. So while some may rail, others will offer some suggestions. I thank you folks for your good thoughts and ideas. As we continue down this path, I'm sure there will be some adjusting and reconfiguring and other items that we'll have to address. Heck, after the first week we made some interesting discoveries already. And that's fine. It's a different world and a different way of doing things. It's also time for a different mindset, one where you measure what was saved versus what was lost. We just saved something we think has great value. Think about that.

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