The following scenario has happened to us a few times now since Nicola and I sold the Kuna Melba News in December. We ran into a family at El Gallo Giro restaurant last night. I know the father from a couple of stories that have appeared in the paper over the years. Very nice guy, intelligent, enjoyed talking to him. In a lot of ways, he and his family are the target market for the Kuna Melba News. They've lived in Kuna for 13 years, they have a son in the school district, the father actually worked for the school district for a time, active in Scouts, etc. He was telling me how great the paper is and how great it is that Nicola and I are in the community, running the paper, telling us to keep up the great work. He was surprised when I told him that we sold the paper in December, that Nicola took another job in February and that next week is my last week at the paper. All of these pieces of news have appeared in articles in the Kuna Melba News over the past several months.
I don't take these things personally anymore. I can look at it much more analytically and objectively now that we don't own the paper anymore. But on more than one occasion over the past few months, I've had people come up to me and tell me how great the paper is and what a great job we're doing with it, but it's clear that they're not reading the paper because they didn't know about the sale of the paper, Nicola leaving the paper, the new employees.
When we sold the paper in December, we wrote a front-page story about the sale. It wasn't the lead story across the top, but it was a big headline in 42 or 44 point type in one column on the right side of the front page:
Then a lengthy story about the sale, the new owners, the history of the paper, etc. The next week, a local business owner came into the office to pay his bill. He told us how great the paper is and that he hoped we were going to stick around for a long time because the newspaper is a really important part of the community. It was clear he had not read the story about us selling.
In the ensuing weeks, it has happened time and again, people telling us how great the paper is but not knowing the paper had been sold, not knowing Nicola left the paper, even after two separate stories about it.
Of course, this hasn't been limited to the sale of the paper. People have told us they didn't know anything about a supplemental levy election, the Kuna Community Food Bank, the City Hall bond issue, that AutoZone was coming to Kuna, etc.
Again, I can look at all of this much more objectively and analytically now, but it's a sobering analysis when presented in the context of discussing why we would have ever sold the newspaper.