Emily C. Skaftun
Norwegian American Weekly
The report of
my death was an exaggeration.
We have been having a pretty rough week here at the Norwegian American Weekly.
The trouble began, seemingly out of the blue, last Wednesday (Or perhaps it is two Wednesdays ago by now; I lose track. I am writing this to you from Tuesday, Feb. 3. Hello from last week!). We gathered for what we thought was an innocent staff meeting (though the presence of an extra Board member was suspicious), but there was only one thing on the agenda: the end of NAW.
We were told then that the issue you’re reading now would be our last. No ifs, ands, or buts. “But what if we…?” we asked. No was the only answer.
We were crushed, but we hurried through our grief and worked overtime to craft a beautiful final issue that would be a necessarily imperfect tribute to the long tradition of Norwegian newspapers in this country.
We sent that issue to press last night, Monday, Feb. 2. We had a toast. We prepared for a day off to recuperate.
I was woken by a phone call from the Chairman of the Norwegian American Foundation’s Board telling me to stop the publication of the final issue and print two more regular issues while they talk with a potential new publisher.
Stop the emotional roller coaster; I’d like to get off.
So we are up in the air right now, unsure of anything. Is there a future for NAW? We hope so. Will that future, if it exists, look much like the present? It is much too soon to tell.
For now I’d like to just say Thank You. Since I posted online about our closure, last Friday, there’s been a flood of goodwill and outrage. There have been myriad suggestions for ways to go on, ideas about fundraising and outreach, and testimonials about what this loss will mean. It’s nice to know we would/will be missed.
So welcome to the reprieve.
This morning I was able to use the words “stop the presses” in all seriousness. That’s sort of weird.
Because of all of the confusion, this issue is coming to you late. I’m sorry. The paper is usually printed and shipped on Tuesday, and this week that will be Thursday instead. We think that’s better than feeling like the boy who cried wolf.
Your trust is important to us. I know we’ve dinged it this week. It’s important for a newspaper to be steady, to not exaggerate. Like the newspaper that prematurely published news of Twain’s death.
The funny thing about the Twain story is that even the quote ended up mutated and exaggerated. The version we most often hear is, “Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.” You know why? Because it’s a better quote than the real one.
Reports of our death have only been mildly exaggerated. We will keep you posted as we get news, and you have my sincere apologies for any emotional whiplash this causes.
It’s hard to exist in this state of uncertainty, but I’m glad we have at least a couple more weeks together.
This article originally appeared in the Feb. 6, 2015, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly.