March 13, 2020, was the day Idaho announced its first confirmed case of COVID-19.
It was also the last day that a significant number of Idaho Statesman journalists worked together in an office — until this past week.
On Monday, we celebrated the opening of our new newsroom. With a champagne toast, we ushered in a new era for our 158-year-old newspaper in a bright, modern, colorful space with two walls of windows and easy access to the Boise River Greenbelt, downtown and many of the key sites our reporters frequent.
This isn’t a full return to the office. We will be a hybrid newsroom for the foreseeable future — with reporters and editors splitting their time between home and the office. Some will be at the office four or five days a week; others won’t be there much at all.
But for the first time in more than two years, many of us will see each other face to face on a regular basis. We can conduct some meetings without the awkwardness of talking to a computer and the clunkiness of not knowing when it’s our turn to talk.
A good chunk of our staff had never even worked together in an office before this. Consider: Of the 25 full-time members of our newsroom (we’re hiring for two more spots), a dozen joined us while we were working remotely.
We spent 27 months working from our homes, coffee shops, cars, picnic tables and other places in between. We were displaced from our longtime building on Curtis Road by the virus; we never returned because the building was sold in late 2020, the end of a long-term effort to leave a massive building that was far larger than we needed.
That 105,000-square-foot building was part newsroom, part business office and part production facility. It was our home for 48 years — and mine, for the first 24 years of my career.
This one is a newsroom only — with less than 3,000 square feet inside our suite. That’s all we need with our paper being printed off-site for more than a decade and most business-related work, like human resources and finance, handled by our corporate parent, McClatchy.
As such, there’s an important note here: We will not offer any customer services at our newsroom. We don’t have any copies of the newspaper on hand. We don’t have a receptionist or a customer service agent on site, either. Visits are by appointment only.
The best way to contact our newsroom is by email, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or you can reach out to me directly, at email@example.com. Individual staff members’ contact info is listed on our contact us page at idahostatesman.com/customer-service/contact-us/. If you need to contact us about print delivery, online access to your subscription, advertising or other matters, you’ll find contact information on that page, too.
Thank you to all of the subscribers, readers and advertisers who have allowed our newsroom to grow even during the COVID-19 pandemic. That support also was critical to getting us back together in a newsroom.