National Newspaper Week is Oct. 4-10This article was submitted by Linda Stelling on 10/6/98.
Peter and Lynne Jacobson will celebrate Peter's 25th anniversary as publisher of the newspaper on Friday, Oct. 9.
The Press has had several publishers over the years, starting with George R. Stephens in 1887. Jacobson is the 10th publisher to oversee and direct the newspaper's day to day operations.
Peter and Lynne are both Paynesville Area High School graduates. Lynne is the third generation of the LeMasurier family to work at the newspaper. Her grandfather, George LeMasurier, became its publisher on April 3, 1924. Lynne's uncle, Clarence LeMasurier, was the publisher from 1935 to 1939. At that time, Earle LeMasurier, Lynne's father, took over the reins of the newspaper. He served as its publisher from 1939 to 1973 when the Jacobsons purchased the newspaper. Lynne's brother, George, served as the paper's editor from 1970 to 1973.
We both enjoyed teaching and loved our community life in Watertown, Minn., but I couldn't see myself teaching when I got be a 50-year-old," Peter said. At that time, Peter was a ninth grade science teacher in the Wayzata School District. Lynne was a special education teacher in the Watertown Area Schools. Peter had been teaching seven years and had also earned his master's degree.
When Earle asked if we would be interested in purchasing the newspaper, Lynne and I decided the time was right to change careers," Peter said.
Prior to the Jacobson purchase, Earle LeMasurier oversaw the transition of the newspaper from letterpress (hot molten type) printing to offset (cold type) with the purchase of new Just-O-Writer equipment in 1969. This eliminated the need for the linotypes where every line of copy was a separate piece of lead.
The other major change which took place at this time was to print the newspaper off site for the first time. The paper was first printed at a plant in Hutchinson and today it is printed at a plant in Lowry.
"It was a complex system of type-writers. It was run by electricity, but it was still categorized as mechanical," Peter Jacobson said.
In the fall of 1974, Jacobson purchased a new direct input typesetting system manufactured by Compu-graphic. Although the compugraphic system wasn't computers in the modern sense of the word, it was the start of the computer age in publishing.
In 1985, the Paynesville Press became one of the first weekly newspapers in the state to convert to the Apple-Macintosh computer system for production. Before that conversion, Jacobson was already using computers to manage the paper's circulation list.
"Computers have really simplified the printing industry," Peter said. "Work is a lot less labor intensive and has really streamlined the operation."
Computers have provided the ad composition people with graphics and type at their fingertips. There is very little cutting and pasting required as everything is done electronically with the computer," Peter added. "The photos used in the newspaper today are scanned by computers. Instead of making a print from a negative, computers can read the negative and produce a digitized image suitable for reproduction."
With the introduction of the Paynesville Press Internet website (www.paynesvillearea.com) in June of 1996, the Press was again a forerunner in the state, leading the newspaper industry with another communication link for the Paynesville community and beyond.
In August of 1996, the Press recorded 235 unique users per month on their website. By June of 1998, that number had grown to 2,800 unique users.
"We can foresee the number of users increasing as more and more people use the Internet to learn about what is happening in their hometown," Peter said.
"We need to continue reaching our young readers. People can receive an abbreviated version of the news on radio and television, but newspapers provide the indepth version of news events readers can carry with them wherever they go," Peter added.
When the Jacobsons returned to Paynesville in 1973, the Press probably had only one or two advertising inserts in the newspapers per month. Today, that number has grown to anywhere from five to 10 per week, including the two local grocery stores.
"The use of preprinted advertising inserts started to grow in the early 1980s," Peter said.
The Paynesville Press employs up to 10 inserters who come into the Press office on Fridays, to "insert" the advertisements into the Press Plus.
In 1995, the Paynesville Press started its own delivery system. The Paynesville Press has between 35 and 40 foot carriers and motor route drivers who deliver about 7,800 shoppers per week to Belgrade, Richmond, Paynesville, Eden Valley, New London, and everywhere in between.
"More dense population have also made it more economical for many newspapers to switch to their own delivery systems," Peter said.
"The Paynesville Press has been very fortunate that our local businesses have supported us in our endeavors," he added. "The newspaper has been able to grow and expand with the community."
In the past few years, Paynesville has seen several convenience stores expand, in addition to fast food restaurants, a new motel, and discount store open.
"Our community changes have been reflected in the newspaper," Peter said.
The Paynesville Press doesn't just print the newpapers for the community. The Press also does type composition and printing for the Minnesota Township News, the Paynesville Area School District newsletter, Senior Citizen newsletter, Paynesville Area Health Care System newsletter, Community Education brochures, Albany Pioneer books and more. The Press also prints five or six publications for another customer in Minneapolis.
Looking to the future, Peter said the Press will continue to do "people" news, cover local celebrations, and human interest stories that people like to read. In addition, the Press will continue to cover local government meetings such as the city council, hospital board of directors and school board.
"You won't see us covering state and national news as there are larger daily newspapers that can serve the community in that area," Peter said.
"I can foresee the Internet expanding as more and more readers who get the paper travel and want to keep in touch with hometown happenings through our website," Peter added.
The newspaper will continue to change with the times as we enter the 21st century," he stressed.
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