Happy anniversary to the Osseo-Maple Grove Press – 100 years? Impressive.
When I think back over the past 50 years that I was involved with the Press, what comes to my mind is the incredible changes we saw in our communities and in our profession.
Our bustling small town of Osseo kept us busy with news, but we also had to recognize the housing developments that were popping up to the west of Osseo, in what had been open farmland, in a burgeoning Maple Grove.
I recall many “firsts” for the area – the first shopping centers in Maple Grove (Zachary Square and Grove Square), the first elementary school (Cedar Island) and the completion of the Hwy. 169 bypass, which moved heavy traffic off Osseo’s Central Avenue and on to the east.
One of my very first articles was to interview the first school board member from Maple Grove, another sign of Maple Grove’s growing presence.
Many other significant events made headlines: The groundbreaking at Arbor Lakes, the first apartment and housing complexes to crop up where corn fields and gravel pits used to be, the construction of Maple Grove Junior High School and Maple Grove High School. Some was tough to report on – several major fires redrew Osseo’s Main Street – Bob Evans, Wayne Drug and the hardware store.
In more recent years, we saw the completion of Maple Grove Hospital and the Hwy. 610 link from 169 to 94.
Throughout it all, the Press chronicled these many events and milestones. But the Press also stayed committed to the basics, not just the big headlines. These basics include countless Osseo and Maple Grove City Council stories, and regular reports on the Osseo School Board.
Each week, the Press reported on school activities and high school sports. I recall when I started at the Press in 1975, I was charged with organizing the weekly sports news and writing some of them. (And confession, while I was a big sports fan, I was never a very good sports writer!) Don and Carole also had a mandate that was cutting edge for that decade: We’d cover girls sports the same way we’d cover the boys’ teams.
As population growth exploded throughout the area, great change was happening inside the newspaper business.
When I wrote my news articles in the 1970s, I used a manual typewriter. I then handed the article to the editor, who added any suggested edits with a red pen. Then the article went to a typist at a machine that would process the type into newspaper-sized columns. Then we’d cut those pieces and paste them onto full-page sized paper. It took several more steps to get those pages ready for the printing press.
I have often said that one of the best days of my working life was the day that Don Larson came into our office with a Mac Plus computer and copies of Pagemaker 1 and Photoshop 1. There were several iterations of the computers and software, but today the technical process of getting a completed page to the press takes a matter of minutes.
No doubt the other invention that rocked our business was the advent of the internet. By the turn of the century, news was zipping across the World Wide Web in an instant. We joined the electronic news process too, setting up our pressnews.com website and beginning to share some of our stories online. Today, the Press website features a variety of local stories plus breaking news.
Despite the many changes in geography, demography and technology, the essence of community journalism has not changed. Journalists for local newspapers cover the big headlines and the basics every week – from serious accidents to routine council meetings. Each article is important.
That dedication to local news is what the Press has done for 100 years. Congratulations to the Press staff and cheers to many more years of keeping everyone up to date on local happenings.
Peggy Bakken is the former executive editor of the Osseo-Maple Grove Press. She is currently a columnist for APG-East Central Minnesota.