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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

What it felt like to own a weekly newspaper


It is difficult to convey how we were feeling in those first few weeks of owning the newspaper. At varying times, Nicola has reported to me a dizzying sensation of disbelief, waking in the middle of the night thinking, “Oh my God, we own the newspaper in this town in Idaho. We are the owners of this town’s newspaper in the middle of Idaho.”
For me, I usually felt a perhaps unrealistic sense of optimism. 
Many times, though, it occurred to me that I should be ridiculously frightened out of my wits. If I thought about it long enough, I knew rationally that this business venture was folly that would most assuredly spell disaster for our family. This is how it happens, I would think, that a family goes into financial ruin. You meet this kind of a guy sometimes, on an airplane or in a motel bar. You ask him what he does for a living and you get his life story: He’s in town for a business seminar on how to make money at real estate. He’s divorced, his wife has their two kids, he gets to see them one weekend a month. They were doing well, but he was tired of “working for the man,” so they bought their own business somewhere in Idaho but everything went bad, they lost their life savings, their cars got repossessed, she eventually left him, and he moved back in with his parents until he can get back on his feet. This real estate seminar is going to turn everything around, I can feel it, he says.
If I looked hard enough, I could see my dismal future laid out before me.
But for whatever reason, particularly in those early days, I easily and quickly shook off these doubts and just went right back to work, somehow certain that this was going to work out just fine.

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