Paynesville Press - June 7, 2006

Publisher's Farewell

Another generation at the helm of the Press

By Peter and Lynne Jacobson

This really isn't goodbye.

Paynesville is our home, the place where we both were raised, the community where we raised our family, and the town where we have been business owners for the past 33 years.

Jacobsons Last week, we sold our interest in the Paynesville Press to our son Michael, who has worked for us for ten years and has been the Press editor for the past five years. He is now the fourth generation in Lynne's family to publish this weekly community newspaper.

Peter Jacobson (left) and Lynne Jacobson (right) sold the Paynesville Press to their son, Michael Jacobson (center) on June 1, 2006. Michael becomes the fourth generation of LeMasuriers to own the Press.

We intend to retire in Paynesville, though we both will continue to do some work for the Press.

We met in high school in Paynesville, dated in college, and got married after Peter graduated with a teaching degree. Peter was a junior high science teacher, and Lynne was in elementary education.

In July 1973, Lynne's father Earle LeMasurier called and asked us if we wanted to take over the newspaper. We decided to give it a try, figuring we could always go back to teaching. We were living in Watertown, Minn., at the time, with Peter teaching at Wayzata and Lynne at Watertown-Mayer.

After 12 years away, we decided to come home. We were confident that smalltown life would be as good as we had remembered it; it was!

Peter started at the Press in August and spent a few months with Earle, though his lessons on ad sales - which would become Peter's forte for decades - lasted only one week.

Our business community has been so wonderful in their advertising support over the past 33 years. For newspapers, advertising really pays the bills.

Their support of special sections, for instance, of state-bound teams and individuals has enabled us to go "the extra mile" in our coverage of our high school teams and entrants, who have represented Paynesville so well over the years.

Peter always enjoyed getting out and talking with business people on his sales route.

The other group that deserves special praise is the readers who have supported the Press through the years. News is the heart and soul of a newspaper.

Without either group - advertisers or readers - there would be nothing to publish.

The Paynesville Press was founded in December 1887, right here in New Paynesville, which became the present downtown, by George R. Stephens, who published the Press until 1903. W.W. Holmes then took the reins until 1911, selling to W. Bertieson, who stayed until 1923. A.L. Bragg purchased the Press that year and sold it in April 1924 to G.A. LeMasurier, Lynne's grandfather. (Two other men owned the Press briefly in the early 1900s.)

After her grandfather's death in 1935, her uncle Clarence served as the editor/publisher for four years before he too died young. Her father took the helm in 1939 and served as publisher until 1972. Lynne's brother served as editor/publisher for a year before heading west, and Peter and Lynne have now served as publishers since 1973, tying Lynne's father as the longest-tenured publishers with 33 years at the Press.

Our son Michael joins his great-grandfather, great-uncle, grandfather, uncle, and mom and dad as publishers of the Press.

During our tenure at the Press, we have seen tremendous changes both in the industry and in our community. When we started at the Press, offset printing was relatively new (some newspapers were still printing with "hot" type). In the 1970s, the Press purchased some rudimentary computer-like machines, and we purchased our first Apple computers in the mid-1980s.

Now, we use solely digital photography and create virtually every ad and story on computer. We have published an online version of the Press since 1996, being one of the earliest weekly newspapers in the state to have a website.

Paynesville - 33 years ago - had a large retail community - some of which has been lost - and St. Cloud and Willmar seemed a LONG 30 miles away. Now, they are a short 30 miles away. On the other hand, 33 years ago the Press maybe had one preprinted insert every two months, where our shopper, the Plus, now has six to ten inserts each week.

When we came to the Press, we got involved in the Minnesota Newspaper Association and have benefitted greatly from that experience - getting to know lots of publishers from around the state and developing lifelong friends.

We will miss our staff and our colleagues in the industry and in business around town. Lynne also will miss the excitement of knowing the news and the stress of deadlines.

We both plan to continue to work part-time at the Press. Our first task will be to finish cleaning our office!

Lynne still plans to serve as webmaster for the Press, as well as doing some special projects and covering for vacations, etc. Peter plans to sell ads during busy seasons at the Press, to maintain our delivery system (those black Press tubes that dot the area), and to do construction and maintenance jobs at the Press.

We plan to continue living at our century farm by Hawick and at our lake cottage in the summer because Paynesville is our home.

In retirement, Lynne plans to do all those things that she never had time to do before: fun things like reading, knitting, playing with our granddaughter Maggie, and traveling and more mundane things like labeling pictures and cleaning closets. Peter also plays to travel and play with Maggie as well as restore his old tractors, take better care of his CRP land, and organize his workshop. We both hope to do more volunteer work in retirement.

Peter and Lynne Jacobson owned and published the Press for 33 years.

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