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Homegrown newspaper transitions to working remotely

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2020 has been a year of drastic change, and like everyone else, your homegrown newspaper is adapting to new pandemic realities. Come Oct. 1, Valley Journal staff will be working entirely remotely. 

Yes, we’re closing our office. No, we’re not closing the newspaper. Our business phone number (406-676-8989) and mailing address (P.O. Box 326, Ronan, MT. 59864) will be the same, and our business hours will remain Monday – Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (For a complete list of phone numbers and email addresses for all staff members, please see page 3.)

As we all know, business as usual hasn’t been “usual” for some time. Newspaper advertising has taken a hit, and understandably so. Businesses and organizations can’t advertise events that aren’t happening, and advertising budgets have been scaled back or ceased altogether. We’ve been fortunate to receive a payroll protection plan loan and stabilization grants. We’re further fortunate to still have a solid base of advertisers and subscribers. (We appreciate each of you more than you know!)

Many other newspapers across the country (pre-pandemic) have also chosen to close their physical offices and retain their workforce. The fact is, before COVID-19 closed our building to the public last March, foot traffic in our office was minimal. Most folks email or call us with their inquiries or submissions, and by most, I’d say 95% or better. The majority of our staff has also worked primarily outside of our office for quite some time. I’d say this is likely true for many newspapers, especially now. 

We’ve certainly enjoyed having our little corner on Main Street for the past 16 years, but in our current environment, a change makes sense. Please know we remain committed to homegrown journalism and to serving our readers and advertisers. Our reporters will still be covering meetings, events and enterprise stories. Our sales team will still regularly visit our advertisers. Our phones will still ring. We will still answer. 

At this point in time, our office closure is simply a healthy business decision. We thank you for your understanding and continued support. As your homegrown newspaper, we’re in this together and look forward to seeing you on the other side of this pandemic – perhaps even in an office where we can speak face to face. In the meantime, we wish you all happiness and good health.

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