March 2, 2021

Amy Wobbema is owner and publisher of the New Rockford Transcript, a 1,000-circulation weekly in North Dakota. Like other weeklies, she suddenly found herself working more like a daily newspaper with the nonstop flow of news in the early days of the pandemic. At times, she saw a 600-percent increase in web traffic.

“It seemed like whenever there was a breaking story that was COVID-19 related, it always happened right after the newspaper went to press,” she said. “We were starting to write articles immediately after and post them on our website to keep the community informed in real time.”

Listen to the oral history interview:

Read the transcript.

See the front page from the New Rockford Transcript from March 30, 2020.

See a page from the New Rockford Transcript from April 13, 2020.

See more from The Essential Workers, an oral history project tracking the experiences of locally owned newspapers in Mid-America during the pandemic.

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Teri Finneman is an associate professor of journalism at the University of Kansas. She previously worked as a print journalist and multimedia correspondent covering state…
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