Editor’s Notes

We’re the Vikings!


Photo: Norwegian-American selfie
The Vikings may not have had horns on their helmets, but that didn’t t stop Editor-in-chief Lori Ann Reinhall (center) from having good fun with her Valkyries, Design Editor Mattea Bertling (left) and Marketing Manager Madison Leiren (right) at Skål Beer Hall in Seattle’s historic Ballard neighborhood.

Editor-in-chief, The Norwegian American,

Dear readers and friends,

The month of March has been a month of great change for us here at the newspaper, a bit of March madness, so to speak, but most of it was crazy good!

We are happy to announce that the rollout of our new subscription management software powered by SimpleCirc has been a great success. On our side, it has simplified the processing of renewals and new orders, while giving us greater insight into our data. This will allow for better planning and enable us to grow—and we are already seeing good results. Our subscriber base made substantial increases during the past month, and with increased revenue over time, we will be able to bring you a better product and reward those who work so hard to make it happen.

At this point, I need to give a special thanks to those who have gone an extra mile as we worked on setting up these new systems. First and foremost, we owe a big shout-out to Deborah Stoner-Ma, our subscription and business manager. For several months now, Debbie has made sure that everything was migrated to the new database without glitches, while continuing to interact with our customers on a day-to-day basis. This was an enormous accomplishment, one which will have a significant impact on the future of our publication.

Now, it is with mixed feeling that we are sending Debbie off to enjoy full-time retirement. Over her time at The Norwegian American, Debbie has gone way beyond the call of duty, for which we are so grateful. After she came to us to help out a few hours a week, after retiring from a successful career in chemistry (she holds no less than a Ph.D.), she filled many gaps during a time of transition. We will all miss her dearly, but we are very happy that she will be able to spend more time with her family, hobbies, and volunteer work. Tusen takk, Debbie—it’s been great—and we all wish you the very best!

Fortunately, we have not been left alone here, and I am happy to announce that Assistant Editor Andy Meyer is now back from his parental leave. We are looking forward to hearing about his adventures taking care of his little son, Arve, and of course, we are thrilled that he is back on board. I should also point out that Andy was instrumental in helping us research our new subscription system and deserves much credit there.

We would also like to welcome a new team member, Brenda Bard, who has joined us as our new business manager. Brenda has been active in the Scandinavian-American community in the Greater Seattle area for many years (she even plays accordion with me) and has a very deep background in business, accounting, and data management. Again, we are very lucky to have such a talented woman join our team, but as I have said many times, I am incredibly fortunate to work with such an amazing group of people. This goes for all of our staff and the many contributors who support us. We are the Vikings in every positive sense of the word!

For all of us, this issue has been a lot of fun to work on with its theme, “A Viking Adventure.” Everyone with a Nordic heritage seems to get excited about the Vikings. I have to admit that I have been known to don a Viking helmet with horns and braids to then down a glass of mead in good fun. But this issue is about much more than that. We have engaged scholars who offer a very informed view of who the Vikings were, with a deeper look into history, including reviews of some scholarly books that we think you will enjoy. We have also taken a look at how Viking culture is celebrated today. We hope that it will provide you with some good food for thought.

Finally, I want to mention a few other changes we are making this month. After many years, we are saying goodbye to our old friends “Han Ola og han Per.” We have looped through the entire series of the classic comic strip and realized it may be a bit outdated. When this month’s strip featured Ola going out to shoot a cat, we thought maybe it was time for a change. Our new comic strip, “Lille Berlin,” offers a modern—and very funny—perspective on contemporary Scandinavian life and gives you the opportunity to learn Norwegian the way it is spoken today.

On this page, you will also notice that we are saying goodbye to our birthday list. This was not a decision that we made lightly, rather one driven by practical business concerns. Over the years, the list has become unmanageable, as The Norwegian American has moved from being a community-based publication to a national newspaper. This year, we invested considerable time and resources to clean up the list and discovered that many of those appearing on it were deceased or had no discernible relationship to our subscriber base. As much as we love the list, it seems to have become a costly anachronism, and with our growing number of subscribers, it will not be possible to maintain over time.

But that doesn’t mean that we won’t continue to honor you. If you have important milestones and celebrations to mark, please send us your photos and write-ups for our Bulletin Board. And then, of course, our Community Connections ads are one of the best deals we offer at $50 for an 1/8-page B&W space. We are now also offering announcement ad spaces for only $15, so you can still send your special greetings to those you love, while supporting our newspaper.

Wow, this really has been quite a month. but we hope you will now enjoy “A Viking Adventure” with The Norwegian American!

Lori Ann Reinhall

This article originally appeared in the April 9, 2021, issue of The Norwegian American.

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Lori Ann Reinhall

Lori Ann Reinhall, editor-in-chief of The Norwegian American, is a multilingual journalist and cultural ambassador based in Seattle. She is the president of the Seattle-Bergen Sister City Association, and she serves on the boards of several Nordic organizations.