I have been reading lately about the importance of being grateful for all the good things that we have and for all of the bad things that we don’t have. Part of this focus has been because I struggle with a bit of job burnout — that’s certainly no surprise to any of our regular readers who know that
Jeff and I have not missed one publication of the Acantha since we purchased the business on July 1, 1990. That’s approximately 1,014 editions. That’s three editions while our infant son lay in critical condition in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in Great Falls, including the one we put out two days after I gave birth. That also means that we have never been gone from Choteau for more than five full days for nearly 30 years.
And that’s okay. That’s what we signed up for when we purchased this business as bright-eyed, energetic 24-year-old newly weds. We knew we’d have to work hard, and we knew putting out a weekly paper was a lot like owning dairy cows — you just have to be there to get the work done no matter how awesome your employees
are. (And ours are some of the best in the business.)
But over the years, the day-in and day-out demands take a toll. They take a toll on my enthusiasm, on my energy, on my focus. What they don’t take a toll on though, is our commitment to our community. And that’s where our big “grateful” and “thankful” comes in as we prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving this week.
We are so deeply thankful to live and work in Choteau, where we have made our home for the past three decades, where we raised our child, where we have had the pleasure of working with our staff members, each of whom brings a wonderful talent and energy to the newspaper. We are thankful for our readers and our advertisers. We are thankful for our friends and supporters who cheer us on and even for our critics, who help keep us honest and sometimes point us in new directions for stories and coverage that we may not have thought of on our own.
In these, perhaps the waning days of the newspaper industry, we are not going to go gentle into that good night, to quote the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas. We are not going to cut our staff or slash our news coverage in hopes of cutting costs. No. We are going to continue to do our very best to provide the intimate and comprehensive coverage of all things Choteau and Teton County for our readers and for our advertisers, who rely on us to make sure their message gets to their customers.
And we are doing pretty well in that respect. We get new subscriptions nearly every week and our print subscriptions are stable. We send the Acantha to 869 households in Teton County every week, plus we sell around 150 copies of the paper at local stores, mostly to local people. That means we reach about one third of all households in Teton County. We also send the newspaper to another 497 out-of-county subscribers, many in northcentral Montana but several hundred to states across the country. Another 25 or so readers subscribe to the Acantha in electronic-only form while 3,151 people like the Acantha’s Facebook page, which sends them back to the Acantha’s website, www.choteauacantha.com, to read our news online.
In other words, we are a great resource for people who want to read about what’s happening in Teton County and a solid revenue-booster for advertisers who want to make sure the word about their sales and product lines is getting
out to local residents.
So we are thankful, deeply thankful, that people in Teton County still value the printed word and that they are committed to reading local news and shopping at local businesses. We wish you all the most blessed of Thanksgiving holidays and hope you are all able to celebrate with family and friends and give thanks for all that is good and right in your lives and in the world.