For the first time in 24 years, I am reporting to work in a different location, no longer in the village’s historic business district.
I began working at the Waunakee Tribune in 1995 at the 105 South Street office it had occupied since 1920. The old brick building looked like a typical newspaper office then, with small MacIntosh Apple computers and stacks of papers everywhere.
On my first day, the staff took me to lunch at the Hofbrau Haus on Baker Street. My coworker at the time got his haircuts at Bernie’s Barber Shop across Main Street and could look from the window by his desk to see how long a line there was before popping over.
By hand, we laid out the newspaper in the back room using waxing devices, then the pages were trucked to the printing press.
All communication was either in person or by phone as we didn’t utilize email then as we do now. We also didn’t have Google then. I remember when writing about famous people, if I needed to check the spelling of a name, I’d call a librarian. Now, Google answers all of my questions.
The Tribune office saw much more foot traffic then. People stopped by throughout the day to drop off press releases, announcements, classified ads, pay advertising or subscription bills, and just to ask questions and talk.
But a lot has changed in 24 years. The area is occupied by many different businesses – the Hofbrau Haus and Bernie’s Barber Shop are long gone – and we all interact more online than we used to. If you have a question, you just email it in rather than stopping by.
Page layout is entirely electronic, and because I’m not a technical person, I only know that through some sort of internet connection, we editors now upload pdf files of our papers to the printing press.
Our location is no longer as important as it once was.
As of Nov. 21, we’ve moved to 204 Moravian Valley Rd, Suite F, in the Waunakee business park, about a mile southeast with our sister newspapers the DeForest Times-Tribune and the Lodi Enterprise & Poynette Press. We’re close to many other businesses there, including Fitness for Success and Moh’s Martial Arts, and the Waunakee school district’s administrative offices are just down the road.
I learned that we were moving some time ago and approached it with mixed feelings. Leaving such a historic location that’s housed Waunakee’s newspaper for nearly 100 years makes me a little sad.
But the older I get, the more I’ve come to terms with change because everything changes, sometimes for the better. And I won’t miss the old building with its drafty windows and boiler that’s been converted from a coal burner.
With steps at the front and back doors, and the bathroom in the basement, the old office is also unwelcoming for those with disabilities. Visitors with limited mobility have also found the stairs at the entry difficult.
The Moravian Valley Road location has a new look, and it feels like a fresh start for 2020. I’m hoping it inspires us all as we cover the news in our communities. And people of all abilities are welcome to stop in there to see us, as well.
Or just pick up the phone. You can still reach the Tribune at (608) 849-5227.