The Star-Observer, the local newspaper acquired by O’Rourke Media Group at the beginning of 2021, has opened an office in downtown Hudson, 126 Second St.
“Caleb Anderson, VP of sales, and Joe Paul, digital sales manager, pushed really hard to make this happen,” CEO Jim O’Rourke said. “At first, I was a little hesitant because the sales and news teams have been doing a great job working remotely, but nothing beats in-person engagement to take what we’re doing in the local community to a new level. And we think Hudson was the best place to do it.”
Both sales and news teams for the Star-Observer will be working out of the new office.
“I have never seen a team more eager to get back out into the workplace and establish long overdue team camaraderie,” Anderson said. “Having an office is improving employee morale, keeping work and home life separate, creating a cohesive company culture and encouraging a collaborative environment.”
A significant number of the Star-Observer staff live in the Hudson community or within a short commute, making it a no-brainer to provide an office that fosters that camaraderie.
The Star-Observer provides local news and content in and around Hudson. Communities like River Falls, New Richmond, Somerset and other surrounding towns are where the staff’s energies are focused.
At a time when many newspaper companies are consolidating, closing offices and cutting print newspapers due to revenue declines, the Star-Observer and O’Rourke Media Group are doing the opposite.
“O’Rourke Media will continue to invest in the Star-Observer, serving local communities for many years to come,” O’Rourke said.
Growth has already begun.
A steady string of investment and targeted initiatives over the past year have escalated the product of the Star-Observer.
In April 2021, the company launched new websites in Hudson and River Falls in an effort to better serve those communities with more local news and information.
“People want to feel connected to the community and the local paper helps to connect the residents with what is happening in the area,” President of the Hudson Area Chamber of Commerce Mary Claire Olson Potter said. “For many years, the Hudson Star-Observer was the go-to publication to find out about new businesses, things to do, sports and all things Hudson. The digital age has certainly changed that, but what has not changed is the desire for community members to read and know the news of the Hudson area.”
Jim Johnson, managing editor, joined the team in October 2021 and has brought greatly improved editorial leadership to the Star-Observer.
Hannah Coyle was promoted as lead reporter in Hudson in April. She “has done a great job bolstering local news coverage in the area,” O’Rourke said.
Sam Fristed and Tom Lindfors cover surrounding communities.
The Star-Observer continues to provide deep, local sports coverage in Hudson, led by long-time sports reporter Bob Burrows.
Donna Kaufmann, Chris Knott, Ray Paul, Joni Juliar and Nikki Lee on the sales team work closely with local businesses to help maximize advertising investments.
“I’m really happy with our progress,” O’Rourke said. “Caleb and the sales teams are bringing new and better print and digital advertising solutions to local businesses. Jim Johnson, Hannah and our news team are providing more and more local news for Hudson and each community we serve in St Croix County. The results are impressive.”