March 2, 2021

Cecile Wehrman is publisher of the Crosby Journal and Tioga Tribune, two weekly newspapers in northwestern North Dakota with a circulation of about 3,500 and a staff of six.

There are fewer than 2,500 people in the county, but online traffic spiked to 57,000 unique visitors in March 2020 from those with community ties wanting the latest news. The reporting team worked seven days a week for months while finding creative means to stay financially afloat, including asking the cities for grant help and raising $5,000 in donations on the website.

“It just seems in my mind like one really long day, and I look at all those stories and I just go, ‘Wow. How did we do all of this?’ But that’s what we’re here for,” Wehrman said. “This type of historic coverage gives us the opportunity to be the best that we can be and to show why newspapers are so important.”

Listen to the oral history interview:

Read the transcript.

See the Journal from March 25 2020.

See the Journal from April 1, 2020.

See the Journal from May 27, 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…
Teri Finneman

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