The North Bend Eagle


Publisher marks 10 years of Eagling

Eagle publisher Nathan Arneal
Published 6/8/16

Drum roll, please.

OK, I guess your fingers banging on the table will have to do.

This issue marks 10 years of North Bend Eagle ownership by myself and Maple Creek Publishing, the fake company that they make you come up with when you incorporate. I guess it’s not really fake, but it is pretty much the same thing as the North Bend Eagle.

I’ve now owned the Eagle for just over 8 percent of its existence, which dates back to when the North Bend Argus and the North Bend Republican combined to form the North Bend Eagle in 1897.

Of the 10 publishers the Eagle has had through the years, surviving a decade gives me the fourth longest tenure.

Of the 10 publishers the Eagle has had through the years, surviving a decade gives me the fourth longest tenure. I still have quite a ways to go to catch J.C. Newsom, the original publisher who ran the Eagle for an incredible 51 years. You think that guy could tell some stories about North Bend?

Getting this week’s issue out is going a little smoother than did the June 6, 2006, issue.

In 2013 I redesigned the paper over a period of a couple of months. New headline and body fonts. New folios, pull quotes and standing heads. Pretty much new everything. In 2006 I did that all in a couple of days while I was also trying to produce content for that first issue.

I was crazy. Possibly out of control. I guess not that much has changed.

That Saturday, June 2, 2006, T-minus three days before my first North Bend Eagle went to print, we were still trying to get the computers to do what we wanted them to. Chris Gross-Rhode, the computer teacher at the high school, was helping us out.

The computers the Eagle had at the time were those iMac G3’s with the translucent colored plastic bubble covering the hardware and screen tube (remember when screens and monitors had tubes and were as thick as they were wide?)

Don’t be tricked into thinking, “Man, 2006 was a long time ago.” These computers were ancient even by 2006 standards. They had to be pushing 10 years. And they didn’t do what I wanted or needed them to do.

So after a while of seemingly getting nowhere, I told Chris to go home and take a break. Meanwhile, I drove to Nebraska Furniture Mart and purchased a brand new iMac so flat it came in a pizza box.

Ah, that was better.

I’m now on my third computer of the past decade, but that original white iMac we bought in 2006 still sits right beside my current one and gets used on occasion. Its 17-inch monitor looked huge compared to the 15-incher on the G3 it was replacing. However, now that I’ve gotten used to the 27-inch screen on my current computer, I’m not sure how I could ever stand to lay out a page on anything less.

That first Tuesday morning we got a couple of calls from the printers at the West Point News. “How’s it coming? When do you think you’ll have those pages up to us?”

Calls like that were not uncommon in those early weeks. At the time, I believe we were the first and only ones to submit our pages to the printers via e-mailed PDF’s. Now everyone does it. (I think.)

Finally, we finished at about 9 a.m. after working straight through Monday night into Tuesday morning. And when I say “we,” I mean “I.” By the way, the date was now 6/6/06.

Dad drove me up to West Point just in case I started to hallucinate from lack of sleep. I also took a hard copy of the PDF pages burned onto a CD in case something went wrong with the e-mail. We were there for the whole printing process from making the aluminum(?) plates, attaching them to the huge rollers and running seemingly miles of paper through the behemoth printing press. It’s a process I haven’t witnessed since that day.

Once the papers were printed, it was back to North Bend for labeling and mailing. It was early evening by the time we were all done and leaving the office. It was also spaghetti night at Little Ricky’s. I suggested to Dad that we go get ourselves some spaghetti.

Dad said he was tired. He was tired. I was going on 36 hours without sleep at that point. “That’s OK,” I said. “We’ll celebrate next time I put out my first-ever edition.”

We had spaghetti.

The third issue I put out was the commemorative 150th anniversary of North Bend issue. It was a still-record 28 pages. Man, did I put in work on that issue. Frankly, I’m not sure I could repeat that effort now.

At some point in those early weeks, late one Monday night or early one Tuesday morning, I snapped. “What am I doing! This is nuts!”

Those first few issues, I did literally everything, with the exception of Mary Le writing a few stories. I did the People Page. I did the Classifieds. I did the Looking Back. I did the Sports.

It was too much. The work I did those first couple of issues is now spread out over three people, and four if you count Cec Hall, who now does the research for the Looking Back.

Very shortly after The Snapping, I made another trip to Omaha to buy another computer. This allowed multiple people to work on pages at once and mercifully helped spread the load, once Dan Watts helped us get them all networked.

Now we’ve been spreading the load for 10 years. (Wait. That didn’t come out right.) Of course, I couldn’t have made it this far without Mom and Dad who have been nothing but supportive the whole time. Especially mom – Mary Le – who has been writing for me, working beside me, crying alongside me and, yes, sometimes fighting with me, for a decade.

Who knows what the next decade holds for me, the Eagle and this industry? Is this a lifetime career? I don’t know. I have a lot of life left. Will I be the last and final editor and publisher of the Eagle? That’s a disturbing thought.

But this much I can promise you: we’ll get you another edition next week.

Count on it.

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