After the COVID-19 pandemic wiped out advertising and forced a temporary cessation of print publication in March of 2020, the Chico News & Review came back to print that July. For three-and-a-half years the newspaper has persevered, publishing monthly with the hope advertisers would eventually return. Unfortunately, most haven’t, so we find ourselves at this crossroads.
As of this month, January 2024, the CN&R will cease print publication and continue as an online-only paper.
To readers, “I feel ya.” It hurts to see this local institution go. Online will be fine, but for more than four decades this printed paper has been an important part of our lives—in stacks by the doors of the places we go; always there on the coffee table, or next to the toilet, or on the bar at the bar—we’ve picked up the CN&R and held a community in our hands, a community that’s losing a 46-year-long thread of its fabric.
The paper wouldn’t have made it these past few years without the generosity of readers and loyal advertisers, and the News & Review is sincerely thankful to everyone who has contributed (and continues to contribute) to our efforts during these trying times.
And to my CN&R cohorts, many of whom are losing their jobs or having their hours reduced with the shutting down of the print version, I want to say thank you for working with me to make something during and after the pandemic.
I know it’s tempting to compare this era of pared-down monthly print editions with the decades of weeklies that came before, but it wasn’t nothing. Despite minimal resources, the challenges of remote work, losing our downtown office, and the emotional/physical toll of the pandemic and a thousand other bits of trauma during uncertain times, we worked hard and made something for the community. Much as the CN&R always has, we covered issues impacting our readers—from the pandemic and wildfire recovery to homelessness and the state of the arts—we just had fewer and fewer reporter hours, hence fewer and fewer stories.
So, thank you to my co-workers who are being laid off: the distribution crew for braving the cold barn and bringing the papers to the public; Ken Smith, for being the man on the town—from the George Floyd protests in City Plaza to Shakespeare in Bidwell Park—and for being my dude; and my long-time cohort Melissa Daugherty for not just keeping your voice in the paper (and those in power on their toes), but for your 17-plus years of friendship and mentorship.
Thank you, Evan Tuchinsky and Ashiah Scharaga, for blessing the CN&R with your passion and commitment to telling the stories of community for as long as you could. Thank you to Trevor Whitney, Jamie DeGarmo, Peter Hogue, Ken Pordes and everyone else who worked and sacrificed on behalf of the paper.
Thank you, Ray Laager, for keeping the faith and selling ads when almost no one was buying, and for rolling with me into the digital realm.
Thank you to the staff at the Sacramento (and Missouri) office for unending support and camaraderie.
Thank you, to owners Jeff vonKaenel and Deborah Redmond, for your belief in Chico and giving us three-plus years to try and make print work, and for your willingness to explore new realms online
And an especially big thank you and uncomfortably long hug to Art Director Tina Flynn. You’ve committed your life to this paper, 45 years of presenting the stories of this community. For generations of residents, the picture of our history was painted by you. Some of my favorite work that I’ve done during my time at the CN&R has been the projects on which you and I have collaborated (“It’s Goin’ Chico time!”). It has been a great partnership and a wonderful friendship. I and the entire CN&R family owe you everything.
Now, let’s keep the CN&R going. We need all of you to join us online. During this transition (and beyond), the best way to stay in the loop with our digital endeavors is to subscribe to the CN&R newsletter at chico.newsreview.com/newsletter.
Jason Cassidy is editor of the Chico News & Review