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I have an old photo tacked to the bulletin board in my office. It is a black-and-white print showing the Great Bend Tribune newsroom I’m guessing, in the early 1990s.

It shows the Tribune’s current City Editor Chuck Smith, then an area reporter, and me, also an area reporter at the time. Smith sits at a pre-historic computer grinning at the camera. I am at my desk, ear glued to my phone (a land line, cell phones were still something from Dick Tracy). Neither of those young men in that snap shot had any idea what was coming, speeding at them like an angry buffalo juiced up on Red Bull.

It is said that the one constant in the world is change.

Although it sounds like a contradiction, this statement rings so true. Picture 10th Street in Great Bend circa 1970 or 1980, or even 1990. Picture it today.

Heck, just imagine your job 20, 15, 10 or even 5 years ago. How about now?

Here at the Tribune, things are no different. Here’s a quick recap.

Some of this stuff involves the behind-the-curtain details in putting out a newspaper and I’m sure a lot (most?) of you probably don’t care. But, please humor me.

This past spring, we installed gobs of new computers, monitors, and gizmos with bunches of cords and cables attached. Seriously, if we connected all these wires end-to-end, it would reach a long, long ways.

Along with this hardware was new software, designed to make our jobs easier and the newspaper look better. It has, but it has taken time. There is no such thing as a painless, seamless upgrade. A lot of us are old dogs and learning new tricks ain’t that easy.

I’ve discussed this before, so let’s move on.

Next is our new website. This project made the computer upgrade look like recess on a grade school playground.

The goal is to put everything that appears in print on-line and vise versa. For an old print journalist like myself, this whole chicken-or-the-egg thing gets sort of murky. But, there are really cool features that enable us to tell our stories more effectively while providing more information to our readers.

We can incorporate videos, audio clips, website links or scanned documents, all which go beyond the printed word and offer more insight into the topics we cover.

Our coverage of the tragic death of 14-year-old Alicia DeBolt tested this new system. What it does is put a newspaper, traditionally a news source that comes out once a day, on par with the 24-7 news cycles faced by our broadcast and on-line competitors. We write, we post, we write some more, we print.

What would those kids in that picture say to this?

In the midst of this, the Tribune is launching a new monthly publication, one targeting readers in Russell County. We call it the Edge, a nod to those of us who live on what some call the edge of civilization while still living on the cutting edge of modern society. The first issue hits the streets next month.

Our vision is to tap into that market and create an interactive magazine-style newspaper – feature oriented with extensive reader contribution, essentially a paper by and for the readers without the commitments to cover harder news items such as school boards, city councils, etc.

Some of the lessons we learn from this will, undoubtedly, make the Tribune a better newspaper as well.

There is a lot of stuff going on and it is all far removed from old typewriters and X-acto knives. But, all have the potential to make us better journalists and better story tellers.

There are times I miss that desk shown in that old picture. What’s more, I miss the youthful enthusiasm and naivete I held about this profession.

However, this is an exciting time. I am convinced that the changes taking place now will rekindle that excitement.

If I could somehow crawl back into that photograph, I wonder what I would say? Get the hell out while you still can? Or, hang on tight, have fun, buy stock in Apple, it’s going to be a wild ride.

Dale Hogg is the managing editor of the Great Bend Tribune. He can be reached at