As you are reading today’s paper, the Triplicate, as we know it, no longer exists. This is the last edition under Western Communications, as the new owners, Country Media Inc., take over Monday.
It’s been about a month since the Triplicate’s entire staff met the new owners and it needs to be said that we have had zero communication with them since. While we were getting occasional hints and parting arrangements from WesCom Human Resources, it feels like we’ve all been walking a long plank in the fog.
Friday, we found the end of the plank and some of us were pushed off. Regional Editor Robin Fornoff, Reporter Jessica Cejnar and Office Manager Elizabeth Carter were let go and the rest of us were told we can essentially reapply for our jobs Monday.
Aside from the above information, we know nothing. We don’t know if the paper will continue to publish twice weekly, if new people will be hired, if further cuts will happen, how local news will be covered, if the website will stay the same, or if the paper will even keep the Triplicate name. We’ve been kept entirely in the dark, and it’s been an incredibly stressful month for everyone.
As I’m writing this, Jessica is quietly tossing the contents of her desk in a box. The only sounds in the room are coming from Michael Zogg’s almost vintage keyboard. Jessica has been the most dedicated journalist I’ve worked with in my almost 20 years of reporting. I’ve often told her that her dedication exceeds her compensation and while she would giggle about it, I sincerely meant it. Her next employer will be incredibly fortunate to have someone with her dedication, experience, enthusiasm and determination.
Robin leaves the Triplicate with almost 50 years in journalism in a career that spans the country. He has forgotten more about journalism than I will likely ever know and I’ve appreciated his ethic from the day I started. He has always been an enemy of rumor and innuendo. He has stood up to many bullies who have tried to slant local news. First and foremost, to me, he has stood up against all to defend the newsroom staff and sometimes, jumped under the bus to keep us from being run over.
If those of us who remain decide to hire Country Media as our new employers, the mission of this newsroom staff will continue; to ensure the free exchange of information that is accurate, fair and accountable, and cannot be influenced by money or politics. If we’re ever asked to change that policy, we will walk out the door and shout that truth from the rooftops.
The staff of the Triplicate has been producing quality journalism since 1879 and we demand that tradition carry on as long as its printed under the Triplicate masthead.
However, I honestly do not know what to expect Monday.
No matter what happens, I’m sure I can speak for Sports Editor Michael Zogg and Design Editor Bryant Anderson III, when I say thank you for allowing us to be your source of information in Del Norte County.