Goodbye and Hello

A fledgling Northwest Prime Time says goodbye to its editor and financial backers
July 1, 2022 at 12:00 a.m.
Cali, our companion while pulling all-nighters, always cast a worried look our way as she wondered why we didn't go to bed already
Cali, our companion while pulling all-nighters, always cast a worried look our way as she wondered why we didn't go to bed already

...by Michelle Roedell, Editor, Northwest Prime Time

We left off last time back in March 2000 after having published our very first edition of Northwest Prime Time.


The next several issues are a blur of monthly all-nighters, which included driving out to the hinterlands of Redmond where our production manager, Melody, lived. When you hang out at someone’s home all day, then all night, and again the next day before careening off to the 24-hour post office next to SeaTac Airport to mail your disk to the Oregon-based printer, Eagle (this was before the days of high-speed internet) … Well, you get to know your production manager pretty quickly. You get to know her, her husband, kids and pets, along with the household secrets.


During those all-nighters, a dutiful and wonderful Cali the dog kept watch over us with a worried look, wondering why we didn’t just go to bed.


By the way, uncontrollable giggling fits are not uncommon at 3am when you thankfully catch a word during proofing like “pubic” that was supposed to be “public.” Loud groans occur when you find that a jump from an article or even a full-page ad is missing, with no space left because you’ve already finished laying out the entire paper.


Those first months, editor, Kajira Wyn Berry of Vashon Island fame, rounded up all the articles, Chris rounded up all the ads, Melody placed everything on the pages. I somehow kept busy with an amazing number of niggly tasks, while at the same time plotting a return to my former career of college counselor – after Chris had the paper up and running, that is. I had a lot of time to contemplate that return while delivering hot-off-the-presses papers all across the region every month.  


While Chris was selling ads, he was also fielding calls from Eagle Newspapers, our financial backer. They gave us a few months before politely asking Chris when we were going to be able to start covering costs. Each month after that, money talk became a little more insistent. Yes, they knew it took some time to get a new publication going, but … The infamous phrase, “Chris, you are hemorrhaging money,” wasn’t uttered until well after month six.


In the meantime, Northwest Prime Time was enjoying robust readership. Seniors love having a publication that is dedicated just to them. And Chris felt it in his bones: advertising sales would pick up soon.


But Eagle needed to see notable improvement. We had to lower expenses pronto while waiting for those ad dollars to roll in at a faster pace.


There aren’t that many pockets to pull from when contemplating lowering costs. We had to eyeball the esteemed editor, Kajiri Wyn Berry, (see blog post 3, Who Is That Cover Boy?). Giving Wyn two-months’ notice caused a big gulp all around. The first gulp was from Wyn; understandably she was none-too-pleased. Also, an even bigger gulp occurred because I would soon be thrust into the role of unpaid editor (without experience beyond staying up all night proofing pages).


Wyn was gracious enough to teach me as much as possible before she left. The enormous task ahead was made less daunting because I could continue on with the same writers. It seemed do-able; at least I would try my best.


But then, gloom and doom. The entire crew of writers, Kajira Wyn Berry’s talented friends from Vashon Island, somehow magically faded away with Wyn. I was left to scramble at the last minute for columnists and content while at the same time trying to learn the ropes.


How I found those writers is a story for our next blog.


In the meantime, saying goodbye to Wyn meant a temporary reprieve from Eagle’s money talk. In the end, they gave us over a year, but finally had to pull the plug. They were a good group of people (see blog post 2, Luck, Pluck and Schemes: On becoming a first-time publisher). After spending money on us for all those months, Eagle agreed to let us continue publishing, with no claims whatsoever on Northwest Prime Time.


 

Goodbye Wyn Berry. Goodbye Eagle Newspapers. Hello Chris Mitchell and Michelle Roedell, publishers and now also OWNERS of Northwest Prime Time.



Michelle Roedell and Chris Mitchell, publishers and owners of Northwest Prime Time

By July 2001, we were finally on our own. And funny thing, Chris' bones were right. The advertising dollars started rolling in almost immediately!



Next month, learn how we overcame losing the writers, finding new presses, and yet still managed to publish Northwest Prime Time, all with a novice editor. Hint: it has something in common with the Kevin Costner movie, “Field of Dreams.”


In case you missed them, you can catch up on the first three blog posts with the links below:

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