So, if you haven’t heard the news already, let me share. We are moving.
We, as in the newspaper office. After being bought out locally from the group based in Georgia that used to own us, we were still housed in the old building on South Third Avenue in Oakdale that has been there for as long as anyone can remember. A plaque on a portion of the building says that it was erected in 1937 but I don’t know if that’s just the addition on the side or the entire building.
Regardless, we will be leaving that building behind in 2023 and moving somewhere new.
Is it bittersweet? Of course. The building on South Third was the one where I came for my interview for a job almost 30 years ago. It was to be a job as assistant editor for The Leader but then turned in to the job as editor of The Riverbank News. In between the time I accepted the job and moved here with my cat a few weeks later – trading the Empire State for the Golden State – the editor in Riverbank had left and that became my new adventure.
I remember arriving for the initial interview and walking in to the building; the ‘smell’ of newspaper work was all around me, including the chemical aroma wafting from the onsite dark room, since there were no digital cameras or cell phones for photos back in those dark ages. We had film cameras and developed our own film. The building itself was also full of people; the paper then was family owned by Stan Cook and we also had the press room out on Hi-Tech Parkway in Oakdale so everything was pretty much done right here. We had a small office in Riverbank, on Third Street, that I worked out of and there was an office on Main Street in Escalon as well. When I started my tenure with the paper, I would work primarily out of the Riverbank office writing my stories there and then take them over to Oakdale on a floppy disk. Yup. It was that long ago.
We also had a much larger staff at the Oakdale office than we do now, since everything was done here, from photo work to page layout, payroll to Human Resources. Now a lot of that is handled through the primary office in Manteca and we no longer have satellite offices in Escalon or Riverbank. And even though ‘we’ of this trio of newspapers – Oakdale, Riverbank and Escalon – are all under the same roof, there are less than a dozen of us including full-time, part-time and our jack-of-all-trades/tech guy we share with the other papers.
Honestly, if we counted everybody that works in the office on a regular or at least semi-regular basis, we are a full crew of eight. And this building is big enough for easily twice that many.
Longish story a bit shorter, the company in Georgia that used to own us, Morris Newspaper Corp., had been trying to sell the building for quite some time and it finally did sell. We have been renting the space for a while but also looking for something smaller and fresher; a space with less of the issues that come with older buildings.
We will be making the move to 603 West F Street, Oakdale, and be fully operational in our new location by the end of January, 2023. We’re moving around the corner and a few blocks to the west. There, we plan to put down new roots that will only make our presence in the community stronger in the years to come.
Marg Jackson is editor of The Oakdale Leader, The Escalon Times and The Riverbank News. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 209-847-3021.