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HAGEN: Goodbye, old word factory

There were six newspapers hanging in the editor's office Friday afternoon at 120 S. Lawler St., the now "old Daily Republic building." Through the course of the year, we hung six of our favorite editions -- giving our newsroom a benchmark to stri...

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There were six newspapers hanging in the editor’s office Friday afternoon at 120 S. Lawler St., the now “old Daily Republic building.”

Through the course of the year, we hung six of our favorite editions -- giving our newsroom a benchmark to strive toward. The editions had outstanding layout, great writing and covered our readers in news and impressive photography. Each time we upped one of the editions on the wall, a new one took its place.

And those six editions remained tacked on the wall, as a sort of lasting memento, as we closed up shop.

Friday was our final day at the South Lawler location. The Daily Republic has moved to Main Street, just a couple doors down from the Corn Palace. As this column - the final column written from this building -is being assembled, decades of stories and laughs are being shared by longtime employees.

Just think of the work that went on here. The hundreds of employees who called this place home. The billions of letters typed and the millions of words that were written. We’re saying goodbye to a huge piece of The Daily Republic’s history.

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Our press has been disassembled and shipped out. Many of our old editions and special sections have been donated to the Carnegie Resource Center. The wonderful volunteers of that organization have also taken in our microfilm machine and thousands of old photographs to maintain.

As we went through the move, it was evident how impactful this newspaper is to this community and the surrounding region. Southeastern South Dakota’s history was logged right here for 55 years. The news coverage, the obituaries, the advertisements -- and nearly every day, all that work showed up to your doorstep or mailbox.

Putting together a newspaper each day is nothing short of a miracle. And we absolutely love that challenge.

Now, as we look around what was once the home to where we assembled each edition, the desks are empty, bookshelves clear and the phones silent. The few remaining computer screens are black.

As this final column is being assembled, the silence from the old office is an odd sound, not one typically heard in a newspaper building.

For a few years, The Daily Republic has considered finding a new home in Mitchell. And now the time is finally here -- we’re headed to our new location. It’s been a long process to get to this point, but today seems like the finale of a long-running TV show. As we transition, our employees are embracing the change and excited to venture forward. We’re also a little sad that what we had, and where we built our product for so long, is gone.

On Monday, we start with a fresh slate. Our view of Mitchell will be a little bit different (the address will be 514 N. Main St.). And we’re sure there will be a few growing pains along the way.

On Tuesday, perhaps we’ll hang our first newspaper assembled from our new office. Our hard work and commitment to documenting history will remain top priorities, no matter our location.

Opinion by Luke Hagen
Luke Hagen was promoted to editor of the Mitchell Republic in 2014. He has worked for the newspaper since 2008 and has covered sports, outdoors, education, features and breaking news. He can be reached at lhagen@mitchellrepublic.com.
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