The first decision I made as owner of The Ely Times and The Eureka Sentinel was a difficult one.
I had been in talks with the previous owners for a few weeks about acquiring the publications. Last week they informed me of their decision to shutter the papers. I was involved for a while as a web editor for both, and while we had some success building the digital side, I wish I had accomplished more. I felt then that the digital business needed to stand strong and independent of print if the publications were to survive long-term. As has been widely reported, newspapers around the country are folding as the old business model becomes increasingly difficult in today’s climate.
Then, in March 2020, the country shut down, and normal operations of The Ely Times and The Eureka Sentinel ceased. The papers continued as a shell of their former selves. During that time, I took ownership of the weekly in Lincoln County, Nevada, where I live. We steadied that ship primarily by making a few adjustments to leverage our digital platform. Meanwhile, community-minded entrepreneurs in White Pine and Eureka County stepped up to start new print weeklies. I congratulate both and wish them continued success.
This brings me to that first difficult decision. How do I rebuild the legacy newspapers in Eureka and White Pine Counties, which have each been around for over a century? Do I continue the expensive endeavor of printing two newspapers in competition with two established weeklies? Or do I completely shed the old model and try something new?
You’re probably thinking I should have done what Paul McCartney suggested, and “Let It Be.”
We’re going to give this a shot with a new approach. I’m sad we will not be printing The Ely Times and The Eureka Sentinel. But I am excited to continue providing community journalism under those historic names. Through ElyNews.com and EurekaSentinel.com my objective is to provide quality journalism that covers local topics the community cares about. We will establish a group of freelance writers who will cover the relevant news of the day and the places and people that make these areas what they are. We will also attempt to go deeper into the most talked about issues – the things directly impacting you and your community. We will use new media tools to enhance that effort and help you connect with nearby services, initiatives and events.
We do all this with the conviction that the most important part of any news business is providing the reader with relevant, well-sourced journalism. We hope to earn your support as we work to honor that responsibility and legacy every day.