Q&A and Thank Yous

The Beagle was born in September 2016 so it was already on a quirky path for timing. Yet, against all odds, it survived the crucial first year and is well into it’s second “fiscal” year of publication. Over the last 16 months, we were repeatedly asked the same questions. So, on the dawn of a new year and a time to give thanks, I will try to address these questions before putting The Beagle/Otter into hibernation until February.

Q: Why do you publish 9 times a year?

A: Publishing weekly means asking businesses to write a check every week and raises our overhead and workload, and the expense just doesn’t make it cost effective. So we do not publish in January because of what I call the “Holiday Hangover” and we don’t publish in July or August because businesses are slammed and locals are on vacation.

Q: Why don’t you identify people in photos? A: In a small community, most people know each other by site, relations, or reputation. We found over the years that readers look at pictures for two reasons: It’s a good photo and/or someone they know is in the photo. Names have morphed so much in the last 20 years, trying to spell them all is a dangerous way to make a mistake. (Does anyone else remember when most kids were named Susan or Mary or Mike or Josh? In the last few months we’ve had a Json, Jaxson and ShowShow!)

Q: Why don’t you report “hard news” or comprehensive sports? A: Hard news and blanket sports coverage are redundant and expensive. Redundant because Western Montana is rich in media outlets, that already do those things. We see more value in getting different names in instead of covering the same few all the time. Based on recent circulation, website and social media hits, we have done much better with youth sports than varsity sports. As for hard news, small media dies when it gets involved in anything controversial.

Q: Why don’t you charge for papers and/or subscriptions?

A: Again, the overhead and logistics are overwhelming. The cost of secure vending machines, sharing revenues and labor is just not worth it in a small community. Plus, I hate that 2 a.m. Sunday morning call from someone who put 50 cents into a machine and, “It ate my quarters and I didn’t get a paper!”

Q: Why did you start the Beagle (and the Flathead Otter)? A: We were asked, it made some sense and it’s fun.

From red to black? Our CPA informs us that in our first fiscal year, The Beagle staged the first VFW-Beagle Community Fair, raised more than $19,000 for charities, donated more than $1,600 in cash, spent 156 hours of community service time, and made another $1,600 of in-kind donations. She also informs us that we were projected to lose $9,000 of our own cash. But..TADA!..we only lost about $4,000. Today, in our fourth edition of our second fiscal year, we wiped out the red ink and are projected to actually make about $6,000 by June.

We want to thank the advertisers who helped The Beagle (and the new Flathead Otter) go from birth to puppy: Aireserv, Axmen Propane, All Dogs Aboard, Bigfork Dance, Bigfork Drug, Bigfork Rentals, Blacktail Mountain Ski Area, Dairy Queen (Lakeside), Glacier Bank, Great Bear Apparel, Harvest Foods, Janice Erickson Insurance, Jennifer Shelley Real Estate, Larry’s Tractors, Trailers and More, LC Staffing, Montana Athletic Club, Riverbend Physical Therapy, JB Designs, The Blind Guy, The UPS Store, Sliters, Stageline Pizza (Lakeside), Stutzman’s Amish Furniture, Subway Sandwiches, Theta Healing, Yellow Bridge Road Learning Center.

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