Emily C. Skaftun
Norwegian American Weekly
It wouldn’t be the Norwegian American Weekly if things here weren’t in a constant state of change, so it was only a matter of time before things changed so much that it wasn’t even the Norwegian American Weekly anymore.
Let me back up. Some of you may remember last February, when NAW announced that it would cease publishing immediately. It came as a shock to everyone, and both in our staff meetings and in letters to the editor this community engaged in a lot of bargaining: What if we only published online? What if we published less frequently? Could a larger institution buy us? Or perhaps we could sell stock? Hold a fundraiser? The ideas went on and on.
A hero granted us a stay of execution, we did hold a very successful fundraiser, and since then we’ve been working on cutting costs and reaching out to new subscribers and advertisers, all of which has allowed us to carry on. But some of those ideas have been percolating in our collective subconscious all this while.
So it is my pleasure to announce that as of this May, the Norwegian American Weekly will become the Norwegian American and will change to a biweekly publication schedule.
We’re doing this for a number of reasons, but the first and most obvious is that it will save us money on printing and shipping. The money it saves us on printing we are reinvesting straight back into printing: instead of 16-page issues with four pages of color, we’ll now be creating 24-page issues with eight pages of color, and while we’re at it we’re upgrading to a cleaner, whiter paperstock that we hope will really help that color shine. But since postage is our major expense, we estimate this will save us somewhere in the range of $10,000 to $15,000 a year. Could that be enough to turn our slow loss of money into a slow gain of money? Dare to dream.
(But actually no, that will never happen, because I have a wish list that would shame a greedy toddler on Christmas Eve full of things I want to spend NAW’s money on, from better subscriptions software to more office space to advertising ourselves to building a mobile app to crazy things like paying all contributors, bumping other employees up to full time, and having medical insurance without the ACA’s help. Dare to dream indeed!)
Second, we’re really excited about adding a little space to our regular issues, introducing some new sections (like Norwegian Language and Research & Science) and expanding others to be able to print more in-depth features. And of course we looooove the idea of having a little extra time to get issues together.
As always, dear readers, remember that this is your newspaper. Most of you have loved and supported it far longer than I have! We’ll be making changes here and there, and if you don’t like them please let me know (nicely). If you do like them, please let me know! We aim to please.
This newspaper, whatever its name, holds a lot of history. Nordisk Tidende began publishing 125 years ago in New York; Washington Posten started 127 years ago this Syttende Mai here in Seattle. Those of us behind the scenes here at the Norwegian American never forget the weight of that history, the fact that we are all that remains of the Norwegian newspaper tradition in America. But tradition cannot mean that nothing ever changes; flexibility is the only way to avoid snapping when things get tough.
So once again, we change!
- The change takes effect in May. May 6 is our big Syttende Mai issue, and then the next issue will be May 20.
- We will no longer skip issues in order to take breaks. Now that we’ll have a two-week process, we’ll just work extra hard certain weeks in order to take other weeks off. So there will be 26 issues a year, and no more confusing Easter, summer, and Christmas breaks without papers.
- I have vague animosity toward whoever it was, 10 years ago, who named this paper the Norwegian American Weekly. If we could have changed publication frequency without changing our name, it probably would have happened long ago. But now we need to change everything—all our marketing materials, every page of the paper, and yes, even our website. We’ve only had www.norwegianamerican.com for two years, and now we need to change again! All I can say is that it seemed like a good idea at the time. Details on the new site and our new email addresses will be coming just as soon as we’ve crossed those i’s and dotted the t’s. We will keep the old ones working for some time as we transition.
- We’ve already discovered one downside to the new name, which is that there is no way to shorten it. We’re no longer NAW. We’re not the Weekly. So who are we when we want to use fewer than eight syllables? The NorAm? Whoever comes up with a nickname that proves “sticky” will earn our eternal gratitude.
This article originally appeared in the April 15, 2016, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly.