The Official Newspaper for Foster County

Frustration, focus and football

Frustration is the word of the day in the newsroom. It’s Monday, and subscriber newspapers have not been delivered to New Rockford, Fessenden and other rural post offices on time for the second week in a row. Our loyal readers, and this time the local postmaster herself, pick up the phone to notify us of the delay.

“So what gives? Why isn’t the paper coming on time?” readers ask.

I wish I had the answer. All the subscriber print copies of this newspaper were taken to the Fargo Post Office on Friday, just as they have been every week for the past few months.

We made this change because we can’t get a trucking company to transport our newspapers to New Rockford or Carrington on Friday mornings. So, our printing company uses their truck and delivers them to the Fargo Post Office instead.

After a few weeks, I thought we had a system down. The papers started coming on time more regularly. In fact, we had about a month with very few calls about missing or late newspapers. It was glorious.

Now the past two weeks have been a challenge once again. Transcript readers in our local area and in other small towns have not gotten their newspapers on time. Our Mondays have been filled with answering questions from readers and taking note of which rural post offices have not received their newspapers.

“Why is my newspaper delivered on a different day every week?” one reader asked.

I don’t have an answer to that. All I know is that the newspapers get delivered to the post office on the same day every week (Friday). They are taken to the same place (the Fargo Post Office) and are put into the postal system for delivery.

I send emails and make phone calls to my contacts in Fargo every time there is an issue. I’ve asked post office employees in Fargo several times to help me understand how the process works, and I still don’t have the answers.

I’ve even tried tracking down a single reader’s newspaper. There is a mechanism in place to do this, which is called an intelligent mail barcode. However, the tracking doesn’t work if the individual newspaper doesn’t get scanned by a postal worker. That was the case with this reader’s newspaper, so I’m still left wondering.

Another question we get asked: How is it possible for the grocery store to have newspapers to sell but mine hasn’t been delivered to my house yet?

The answer is that they are delivered by two different systems. The newsstand copies that go to local stores for purchase are sent to us by UPS each Thursday after they are printed. So far, they’ve made it from the printing plant in Detroit Lakes, Minn. to our offices in both Carrington and New Rockford within 24 hours every week.

Paid subscriber copies of the newspaper, on the other hand, go to the post office for distribution and delivery. Once they enter the postal system, the timeline for delivery is out of our hands.

I know it isn’t what readers want to hear, because most of you love to get your newspaper in print, but there is a way for you to get the newspaper on the same day every week.

A digital replica of the print edition is available online at http://www.newrockfordtranscript.com or http://www.fosterconews.com by 7:30 a.m. Saturday. All print subscribers can get online access for no additional cost. Click “FREE Trial” at the top right of the home page, and set up your account.

The online edition looks just like the print copy, except it has full color photos and direct links to connect you to other online resources. We also sometimes put additional photos and documents online that we can’t fit on the print pages.

Try it out for yourself. Then, if the printed paper doesn’t show up in your mailbox on time one week, you know there’s a way you can still read all the local news, sports and features you expect from your local newspaper, on your schedule.

On focus

My college-aged daughter and I had a conversation about deadlines and focusing on important tasks recently. She called when we were on our way to a football game. She had a term paper due that night at midnight, and she was first searching for the six “primary sources” she needed that day. No writing had been done.

“Go to the library and ask a staff member for help with a search,” I suggested.

“Mom, it’s not open on Saturday,” she replied. The library at her small college isn’t staffed on the weekends. She was, however, able to access the library’s online catalog.

The purpose of requiring primary sources is knowing that the information used in a research paper is reliable and accurate. It takes time and effort to find and research primary sources.

So, I summoned my years of online research and figured out a way for her to find primary sources through an online search.

I was up late that night editing photos, and we talked again just after her deadline. She finished her paper and submitted it one minute before midnight.

She gets that from me too. I thrive on deadlines. To be in the news business means staying up until 2 a.m. to write the article and edit the photos from Saturday’s playoff football game so it can be posted the next morning.

However, sometimes it’s hard to focus on topics and tasks that are outside our wheelhouse. That was the case this time with my daughter. Business Law isn’t exactly universally understandable. I mean, that’s why every business owner needs a good lawyer to help us navigate sticky situations. So, even with a deadline looming, it was hard to focus.

Hocus Pocus, Focus! If only it were that easy sometimes…

On football

It was a memorable first season for the football co-op between New Rockford-Sheyenne and Maddock. It may not have ended the way we hoped, but it was an incredible run.

To the 10 seniors – your leadership, athletic ability and never-give-up attitude were not only a joy to watch but also a fantastic example to the younger players.

To the coaching staff – you did everything you could to guide this team to greatness. The way you advocated for them, lifted them up and let them shine shows true character.

To the entire team – although this one didn’t end in a “w”, you showed incredible grit, determination and athleticism. You had to fight every step of the way, and you gave it your all until the very end. We are so proud of you!