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North Dakota’s Only Indie

Editorial | November 20th, 2021

By John Strand

jas@hpr1.com

Our Opinion: The Little Newspaper That Could, still can.

Like most everyone else we know, HPR is different these days. The pandemic changed our world in ways we never imagined. Yet here we are. And as you can see, The Little Newspaper That Could is still doing.

But differently.

It occurs to us that it’s time to give you all an update on the state of the High Plains Reader. We’d like to share with you, our readers, where we are going and how we can all get there together. Because we are a community unto ourselves.

The past year and a half plus has been transformative in about every regard. Where HPR was a weekly newspaper when the pandemic hit in March 2020, it’s now a monthly publication hitting the streets the third Thursday of every month.

After shutting down for nearly seven months last year, we knew our world would never be the same as it was pre-COVID. Our business partners, customers and friends were hugely impacted. Some have closed their doors entirely. Most have challenges finding workers. Many had family or friends get sick or die.

And the battle continues, for all of us.

Going forward, you’ll see some subtle changes and some obvious ones. A monthly publication is a different beast than a weekly. The timelines are longer, the view more from the balcony. You’ll see a more focused feature-type coverage.

Anchor writers Ed Raymond and Greg Carlson will absolutely be part of every HPR issue, and even online weekly, despite our monthly publishing schedule. And, while at it. We want to thank Ed and Greg for keeping the torch lit when HPR was shut down. They continued to contribute like clockwork weekly and largely because of them, our website hpr1.com had ongoing new content.

Our core team is much the same as before. Sabrina Hornung our editor, Raul Gomez publisher and ad director. Tom Bixby content proofing. And new again to us after a 15 year hiatus, Alicia Underlee Nelson is our sales person. We are blessed.

At this point, finding HPR means going to a Hornbacher’s, Bottle Barn, Cash Wise, Happy Harry’s or one of the four libraries in town. We’ve focused on high-volume distribution outlets. We currently put out 8,300 papers every issue and they get picked up.

Contentwise, the weekly calendar of events is no longer. We will, however, start with monthly Best Bests, starting with this issue. Going forward, we’ll be adding some new focused content such as Travel.

The High Plains Reader has always been a labor of love and we’ve always had a deep reach into the arts community. We’ll continue that focus while also keeping an eye on all things culture and food related. Our advertising partners do a great job listing their events in their ads so please support them every chance you get.

In the blur of the pandemic, one thing that took place without fanfare was HPR’s birthday. Our newspaper is now in its 28th year. Not many can say that, especially here in the hinterland.

Another visible change is we essentially are working remotely. Yet we miss our office time together and especially on press days. That’s likely a thing of the past now too.

The elephant in the living room these days is the reality that everywhere you look, people are fighting, quibbling, arguing, standing their ground. We wonder just how history books will later on look back on this moment in time and at how we all behaved or acted or carried on.

HPR is not about the fight. It’s about our commonality and our shared appreciation for the creative sides of our people and our community. HPR is about you. And for you.

Going forward, bear with us as we continually evolve into the monthly publication. Feel free to share your best thinking with us and by all means support our advertisers. They are after all the folks who invest in advertising in a newspaper that reaches thousands of you.

Do your shopping with locals. Spend your money with them. Drop into their establishments or businesses and thank them for being in your world. Let them know you truly appreciate and support them.

Meantime, The Little Newspaper That Could continues. Reinvented. Different. And in some ways, better than ever before. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for being part of this extended family.

Watch for HPR every Third Thursday. And read us online whenever you get a chance.

For all of you and all of this, we are overflowing with gratitude this Thanksgiving.

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