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Opinion: Happy birthday, super hero

The circumstances that surrounds one of Madera’s super heroes marks March 17, 2004 as a big day. On that day our then managing editor Charles P. Doud and a group of investors, many of them local, incorporated Madera Printing and Publishing to rescue The Madera Tribune from the metaphorical scrapheap. He is celebrating his 79th birthday today. Happy Birthday boss, and many more.

His volume in the ongoing Madera Tribune saga is responsible for this publication. He and his late wife Annette brought years of newspaper and printing experience to Madera.

The newspaper, founded in 1892, almost closed down when the modern-day owner of the Tribune, Dean Lesher, died in 1993. His estate sold his chain of newspapers to U.S. Media of St. Luis, Mo. This chain included the Merced Sun Star, Chowchilla News, the Madera Tribune, and others.

The Tribune continued under USM’s helmsmanship for a number of years. On June 12, 1995, I joined the party when hired in the retail advertising department. At that time, I came one step closer to fulfilling a longtime fantasy to play Lois Lane.

The newspaper industry was evolving and changing during this period and not in a positive manner. Too many newspapers were closing or scaling back publication and even long-time journalists were losing their jobs to cut expenses.

News on cable television and the Internet played their parts in the demise of many newspapers, both large and small.

Serious newshounds and even those with a casual interest in world events can search the Internet or 24-hour cable channels to get the highlights of the day.

This on-demand system has led the public to believe they can get all their news for free from the Internet. Obviously, a newspaper must sell its products in order to survive.

U.S. Media reorganized a few times and ultimately decided to sell its chain of California newspapers, then known as Pacific Sierra Publishing.

The McClatchy Company made an offer to buy most of the newspaper chain with the exception of the Tribune and The Turlock Journal. I often described the situation as feeling like the ugly child left behind at the orphanage.

Fortunately, our hometown newspaper included enough assets to make it a feasible investment. Doud found like-minded investors to keep the newspaper printing. At that point, without him, the Tribune could have ended up as just a Wikipedia entry under small town newspapers.

He believes that our 128-year-old newspaper deserves continuation.

We have made some changes through the years, including becoming a twice a week publication and relying on the U.S. Postal Service to deliver our pages for the mid-week and weekend editions.

News outlets such as CNN or MSNBC have the latest available details about what is transpiring on the world stage. But do they tell you about the young man from Madera County that has been called up to the “Bigs,” in Major League Baseball? Or when the Madera County Cattlewomen are hosting its annual luncheon? They have no interest or even knowledge of the local stories we and our readers care about.

We continue to cover as many hometown stories as we can.

The support of our community in both advertising revenues and subscription rates are essential to our continued survival.

A hearty thanks to super hero Chuck Doud for recognizing the potential of The Madera Tribune. His belief in Madera and its support of the newspaper continues to inspire our employees to bring you the stories you care about. Enjoy your birthday and the celebration you have planned, dear man.

Long days and pleasant nights, be safe and have a great weekend.

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Readers may contact Tami Jo Nix by emailing or following @TamiJoNix on Twitter.

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