State of the NAW

My first cover (left) next to one of my favorites. Which would you rather read?

My first cover (left) next to one of my favorites. Which would you rather read?

Hello, dear readers!

This issue marks my one-year anniversary as your editor. And what a year it’s been! Here are some of the challenges we faced in 2014 and our hopes and plans for 2015.

From the beginning I knew I wanted to make some changes. I sneakily tinkered with some of the pages, shifting a little focus here and there, embiggening the Calendar of Events, and actually doing away with one of the pages entirely. Remember the “Research & Education” page? I didn’t think so.

Despite that, it took me until April to change the cover page. I decided to make a colorful cover for our Påske issue and I liked it so much that I’ve never gone back to the newsy format from before. This has been a somewhat controversial move—I’m still dialing in how much I can play with design and have things remain readable, and some of my mistakes in that area elicited complaints. I hope that’s been resolved at this point, but let me know if you still have trouble with any of the covers. I’m very pleased with many of them; it feels good to have something beautiful on the front page, even if it isn’t always as important as a newsy headline.

A number of new contributors have joined our (already awesome) ranks this year: welcome to Victoria Hofmo, Whitney Love, Christine Meloni, Barbara Rostad, M. Michael Brady, Jon Lind, and anyone else I’m missing! Any omissions on this new writers list are unintentional. I deeply appreciate the efforts of ALL our fine writers.

This year also saw the beginning of our partnership with The Foreigner, allowing us access to better news from Norway. If you want even more of their news and columns, please support our partner with a subscription. Just promise you won’t like them better!

The major crisis of the year came just after one of our biggest triumphs—on May 18, just as we were recovering from Syttende Mai and the huge double issue we’d made to celebrate it, the web domain was stolen. Just like that we had no website, and no email! Let me just say that it is quite difficult to run a newspaper without email. (As a side note, I sent 3,190 emails in my first year at NAW, not counting emails sent from the temporary account we used to get through the domain loss—no stats exist on how many emails I received, and I think I’m grateful for that fact).

We went through all five stages of grief—denial (it’ll start working again soon), anger (curse those Chinese hackers!), bargaining (literal bargaining, which if I’m not mistaken involved state departments—thankfully this was all handled by someone not me), depression (we’ve lost so much business over this, how can we recover?), and finally acceptance.

Acceptance saw our newly re-designed launched a little earlier than planned. But it looks beautiful and at this point we’ve just about got the bugs out of our shiny new online subscription system. This allowed us to get rid of the clunky old system we’d been using for the online version. In the end, I call it a win.

This year saw a lot of change in personnel. The first and most obvious change was me. Hi! In the spring, we also added my lovely and talented assistant, Molly. She’s quickly become a life-saver around here. We couldn’t do it without you, Molly! Tusen takk!

It’s also been a volatile year in Advertising Managers. Drew left us right after hitting a home run on the Syttende Mai issue, and it was months before we found a suitable replacement in Evan. Then Drew returned to us to help with the holiday push, Evan submitted his resignation, and we only get to keep Drew for another month or so. So, long story short: we’re in the market for a new Advertising Manager. Would you like to join our team? We’re fun to work with, honest!

Just ask John Erik; he’s been here the longest—and is another indispensible piece of this puzzle, handling mysterious bookkeeping and other tedium that none of the rest of us want to do. Generally it’s a thankless job, so thank you, John Erik. We couldn’t do it without you, either!

Our newest new addition is Nils Anders, a blue-hatted hidden person who came to us out of a rosemaled cabinet. We hope that with your assistance, we can help Nils Anders get back to his long-lost family (see story in last week’s issue). You can follow his journey on Twitter using the hashtag #NAWnisse, and he also has an account there, @NAWnisse.

On the financial side of NAW… well, we’re trying to run a newspaper here, which will never make any of us rich. We’re treading water. We could not be more grateful for our loyal subscribers and for all of you who gave gift subscriptions this Christmas. The best thing you can do for us is to spread your love of NAW to others who might be interested. Give them a few of your back issues, get them hooked, then like a drug dealer raise the price on them… er, have them get their own subscription. And if you run a business, consider running an ad in NAW.

One area in which we’ve seen rapid expansion this year is in the field of social media. If you haven’t already, why not “like” us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter? We only really started using our Twitter account a couple months ago, but in the year that I’ve been here our Facebook followers have gone from not quite 2,000 to not quite 3,000! We’re building an army of Facebookers! If we keep up that sort of momentum, we should have between 4,000 and 4,500 followers by the end of 2015. Check back in with me then to see if we made it.

All in all, it’s been a great year. We hope to do more of the same in 2015, bringing you top-notch stories from all over the U.S. and Norway, and expanding our online community. Thank you again for being a part of our 2014, and we hope you enjoy 2015 even more!

This article originally appeared in the Jan. 16, 2015, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly.

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The Norwegian American

The Norwegian American is North America's oldest and only Norwegian newspaper, published since May 17, 1889.