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Claremont COURIER 2.0

by Peter Weinberger | pweinberger@claremont-courier.com

Each month I receive a newsletter for newspaper publishers highlighting the latest media news and trends. This month’s issue had an unusual story printed on the front page, offering tips for managing stress as an executive in the media business. Even after a year living with the pandemic, I’ve never seen “adversity” tips so prominently displayed in an industry newsletter.

Of course this advice applies to anyone undertaking enormous change on a variety of fronts. After a year of COVID-19, there’s no question the term “adversity” applies to most of us. Here were the thoughts I could relate to.

• Commit to your journey. The path will have roadblocks, just stay on course. Giving away my critical community local news business to become a nonprofit definitely checks that anxiety box. Especially since it takes so many months to make it happen. Patience.

• Surround yourself with like-minded people. This is more important than one might think. It’s hard enough to manage change and take risks. It’s impossible if you need help from people who don’t buy into your company goals.

• Stay in the game to the end. The COURIER train is rolling now and I’m not looking back. Ok, maybe just a little.

• Exercise faith over fear. Fear is something that can creep up at any time. But I’m also very confident the moves the COURIER is making will ensure the business remains a success. I want to ensure the COURIER is around long after I’m gone, remaining a public trust absent any incentive to maximize profits at the expense of community service.

• Hard work pays off. The older I get the more obvious this seems.

New names, new beats

Given that the economy will continue to get stronger, we have started to make new hires to make COURIER 2.0 a must read for all of you. Here are some of the new and current names you will see.

Andrew Alonzo is a University of La Verne graduate who charges ahead with enormous enthusiasm. He will help with our business reporting and feature profiles of Claremonters doing great things. This is part of our commitment to cover business in the City of Trees.

Steve Harrison is known for his haikus that have been published in numerous editions of the COURIER. But he also has a unique insight into Claremont as a columnist and longtime resident. We will always strive to connect with new voices bringing new perspectives.

Jessica Aitken is a senior at Cal State Fullerton focusing on photography. Given that both Steven Felschundneff and myself have moved to other priorities, Jessica is much needed.

Betsy Weinberger has now taken an active role in managing the office and most importantly, keeping me, her husband of 34 years, in line. She’s also been providing grant funding assistance that has already helped our bottom line. This is an important role to help the future financial security of the business. Betsy owned a bed and breakfast in Big Bear for five years and has become an excellent short order cook. Hint hint.

Citizen journalist Susan Brunasso has a knack for knowing everything that’s going on around Claremont. She has a keen nose for news and has developed a following on social media. Susan will help publish COURIER content online and help connect us even more to the Claremont community.

Graphic designer Grace Felschundneff has focused on designing many of the ads that appear in our print edition and on our website. She’s added to her plate designing our special editions like Healthy Living, Claremont Living, Focus on Women, Today’s Parent and more. Our specials seem to have a whole new energy and look that our readers have already noticed. I cannot wait to see this year’s Almanac!

Rachel Fagg’s role will change as she focuses more on marketing and promotion. Rachel will continue to work with Claremont realtors but will also help us reach new readers and advertisers. She seems to literally know everyone in Claremont.

It’s pretty hard to miss Mick Rhodes’ education coverage as Claremont’s schools prepare for a spring opening starting in April. We planned to assign Mick our education beat once CUSD (and other schools) began planning for their in-person teaching. He’s a prolific writer who has been writing two or more education stories each week as they prepare to open. The COURIER will be reinventing our entertainment calendar once we see what the new normal looks like.

Other hires will include another reporter and designer/online producer. These positions will help us manage our new robust website with more news, while helping produce a great newspaper! We are just getting started!

This is all part of our plan to manage through COVID-19 by making a commitment to spend only what we could afford, then turning the volume back up for COURIER 2.0 as the economy picks up. It hasn’t been easy. But as the economy grows, so will the COURIER.

PS: We also have a new phone system that will help customers find the right COURIER staff members. It’s a huge improvement over our old system with more help options and secure, stable connections. I never thought I’d be so excited by a phone. And yes, we still have real people answering our calls.

Lastly, I want to again thank all our loyal advertisers and subscribers. Without you, we would have had a terrible time managing through this past year. It’s been hard for all of us.

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