Purging the Past – Escalon Times

There’s a big purge going on in our office. A kind of “spring cleaning” that is long overdue, which takes place precisely in the fall.

I’m sharing this now because as a result some may see certain items offered for free on social media sites, or in some cases for sale.

Truth be told, we haven’t encountered much monetary value so far, but there’s a lot of emotion attached to truly random things.

Before going any further, I think it’s important to share: we’re not closing! As a journalist, there’s nothing better than dispelling a good rumor, so before our purge is mistaken for something it’s not, you heard it here first, the business continues.

Yes, some may have seen the “for sale” sign hanging on the front of our building and yes, the building has been sold. Our posts, however, are still alive and well, so you can all kick back and get back to your weekly reading.

Some things from a business perspective have changed over the past year. It’s all ‘back of the house’ stuff, bit by bit for the most part from a staff and audience perspective, everything stays the same.

The building, however, and its contents look very different from what I was when I first entered over 20 (yes 20) years ago. Hence the need for the great purge of 2022.

As I write this, our staff is eight staff strong, two cats and two to three dogs daily. It’s a stark contrast to the 18+ plus newsroom staff on Hi-Tech Parkway in Oakdale when I first joined the staff.

Keeping in mind that it was a time when we still used film for our cameras, the World Wide Web was not that big, we still used a phone book, and our paper had three sections. Newspapers were still a “thing” 20 years ago. The company wasn’t getting the latest news on their phones or learning the latest “big” story on social media.

Yet, as the song says, “times are changing,” and with the power of the web and smart phones, they have changed at lightning speed.

To be completely honest, it was probably a decade ago that many of us in the business started rethinking our careers and discussing what we would do if our doors closed.

Somehow, though, by the grace of God and our loyal communities and readers, we’re still here and going strong. Personally, I couldn’t be happier because serving these great communities of ours is truly my life’s passion.

The addition of 209 magazine a few years ago allowed us to expand our reach and further share our 209 pride with communities in the Central Valley and, in many cases, beyond. Adding an extra layer, the 209 podcast, recently revamped by myself and my colleague Virginia Still, serves to be an extra layer to stay relevant with our community.

But back to the purge.

As one can imagine, going from a staff of over 18 to over eight pets, over the past 20 years, is a significant reduction for a 4,000 square foot building. The footprint is large and the needs are few.

We just don’t need more than 20 desks (maybe that’s an exaggeration), filing cabinets, bulletin boards and boxes for a staff of less than two dozen. Why we’ve waited until now… I really don’t know, but for a non-accumulator Type A, it feels good to get some of this stuff out, not to mention seeing so many people happy to come and claim it.

We plan to repurpose some of our “trash” which was once a necessity, but we’re also excited for others to come along and take a load of it once it’s ready to go. We do our best to keep it all out of the landfill.

On the other hand and somewhat selfishly, I have to share that I woke up with sore muscles on Monday morning after spending a few hours alone in the office moving desks around and consolidating more items into our distribution area. I haven’t had that feeling in a minute. I love this feeling. Such a sense of accomplishment and ability.

So there is the story, as well as a dispelling of any rumours. We are always here to serve you all and bring you the best we can every week. We’re just going to try to do it in a more zen and dust-free space. Well done, less is more.

Teresa Hammond is a reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. It can be attached to [email protected] or by calling 209-847-3021.

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