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The Journal is here to stay

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Thirteen years ago, I started as a police reporter for what was then called St. Lawrence County Newspapers. Over the years I served as St. Lawrence County reporter, deputy managing editor of The Journal in Ogdensburg, city editor of The Journal and Advance-News, and for the last two weeks as managing editor of Northern New York Newspapers Corp.

A lot has changed during my 13 years here as we have worked hard to buck an industry trend that has seen both big-market newspapers and ones our size shut their doors for good.

We made an announcement on Friday that The Journal would be changing from a daily paper to a twice-weekly paper that will come out on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Here’s the link to the story: www.ogd.com/article/20140117/OGD/701179842 .

The Daily Courier-Observer and Advance-News will not undergo any changes.

Some people worry about whether this is The Journal’s first step toward succumbing to that industry trend we have so far avoided.

I promise you it’s not. And I am not someone known for breaking promises.

I was born and raised in Ogdensburg. My father, who chaired the city’s Republican Committee for the better part of a decade, had famous disagreements with retired Editor-Publisher Chuck Kelly that often took the form of snarky letters to the editor and caustic editorials in return. They made for entertaining reading.

The newspaper has been a big part of my life for a long, long time. I cannot put into words how passionate I am about it.

I want to make it better, and the plan we outlined will allow us to do that. That’s not some line of corporate bull. It’s a belief that saturates my being.

One of the biggest complaints we hear from readers is how thin the paper is. It doesn’t feel substantial enough to make a lot of folks feel they are getting a value. We are changing that.

Instead of two sections that most often only amount to 12 pages, we will give you three sections — a 10-page A section full of local news, photos and local opinion, an eight-page B section that will be jam-packed with youth, high school and college sports, and a six-page C section with community news, features and events.

It will be 24 pages of the community coverage you want to see. It will have an updated look. It’s going to be the newspaper it should be.

At the same time, we will roll out a completely redesigned website that will be updated multiple times a day as news happens and include features our current site does not have. It will provide all of the content you expect to see in print and more, and will allow us to stream video and audio of local happenings. It will have a whole new look, feel and philosophy behind it.

We are making great strides to give you what you have told us you want to see in your hometown newspaper and in our online offerings.

It sounds like a tall order to be able to deliver by March 4. And believe me, it is. But I wouldn’t tell you — promise you — that we can accomplish these goals if they weren’t realistic.

You are important to us, and we care deeply about what you think. Anyone who have concerns or suggestions is welcome to give me a call at 393-1003, extension 123, or 661-2532, or email me at egraham@wdt.net.

I am excited about the changes to come, and feel so incredibly honored that I have a strong hand in steering our future direction. I feel the weight of our responsibility to you, because you are so important to our success.

Our future promises to be a bright and vibrant one. I can’t wait for you to see what we have in store for our readers in Ogdensburg and the surrounding communities. Stay tuned.

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