Changing times brings a change at Times

Today, the other shoe that I had been waiting to drop for over a dozen years, dropped in Vinton.

The Cedar Valley Daily Times announced today that the “daily” part of the equation was now gone. Beginning April 9, the Times will become a Friday only publication, while the publication that I am forever proud to say my wife and I founded five years ago, The Vinton Eagle will publish on Tuesdays. This new combination of my journalism model will give Vinton and the surrounding area a great twin-weekly news summary delivery source.

And, it will end a model that had long ago lost its luster.

Don’t get me wrong; I loved the CVDT, in its day. I grew up reading it, started my journalism career there in 1982 and had the honor of being the sports editor there for six and a half years. Ah, those were the days!

From 1989 through 1997, we were quite a team. I did sports, Dan Adix did great news coverage and incredible pictures, while Doug Lindner served as associate publisher, wrote, reported and steered the ship. For most of those years, the late Dick Hogan was our publisher and Faith Brown was our editor. And the true leader of our little family, Becky Cottrell, kept us all in line. We were quite a team.

Five days a week, we would hit office by 7:30 in the morning. Bob Lutz would have already been there for an hour and the coffee was already made. Dan would develop film and print photos all morning, while we would write and write and write. In the back, Mary Robinson, Susan Meyer and several others would crank out ads Mert Alpers sold, while Gene Deterding, Mike Bruce and press crew would get the presses rolling.

By 1:00 we’d be on the presses and by the time most of Vinton and surrounding area had arrived home from work, there was a CVDT on the front step with that day’s news in it.

We didn’t use wire copy and sometimes had to stretch to fill space, but we did it. It was a lot of long hours and a lot of stress, but it was also an incredible experience and one I look back at with both pleasure and pride.

But even then we could see it coming. As a business model, a local daily newspaper in a market this size was becoming more and more difficult to justify. Faith moved on in 1994 and we lost Dick in 1995. Then, in January of 1997, the head of Mid-American publishing, David Archie, passed away. By the time Angie and I moved to Kansas in March of that year, we had already heard rumblings of a sale.

When Community Media Group bought the CVDT in the summer 1997, cut staff and removed the presses, we assumed then it would become a weekly. But it didn’t. Wire copy came back and local news – the news we used to have on the street on the day it happened – wasn’t showing up for a couple days. The subscriber based dwindled and by the time we moved back in 2004, there was nearly a news vacuum.

It was because of that that Angie and I created The Eagle. We wanted to fill the vacuum with a weekly product that would combine the local angle that I learned so well in the glory days of the CVDT with a weekly model that people wanted to read.

Our immediate success in readership and popularity in the community told us we were doing it right. And now, with CMG’s recent purchase of The Eagle, our model has come full circle.

Angie and I are obviously pleased to see that our pride and joy, The Eagle, will go on, and equally pleased that the Times will as well, just under that weekly model. I will always look back with great pride at what we did in those days of glory. But I also look at those as days gone by.

It’s like looking back at high school; we will always take pride in what we did and fondly remember what we did in those days. But times change, and change is what life is all about. I will miss the Cedar Valley Daily Times, but the one I will miss the most is the one I grew up with and worked at.

Times change; now the Times has changed. And it is time. It was an honor to be a part of that, just as it is an honor to have founded The Eagle. And we look forward to the future of both.


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