In April of last year, my husband and I went to Reno to visit our parents. It was fantastic to be able to finally see so many friends and family members after 13-plus months of isolation—and, of course, to enjoy our hometown.
However, something was missing.
We stayed at the Sands Regency, and the Reno News & Review rack that had been outside of Mel’s Diner for many years was gone. We did see RN&R racks, seemingly abandoned, in other places. It seemed like every restaurant we walked into had an RN&R Best of Northern Nevada certificate or three proudly hanging on a wall.
Then there were the questions from friends who knew about my long history with the RN&R. The queries were all variations of: “Hey, do you know if the Reno News & Review is ever coming back?” I replied that Frank X. Mullen was doing some great stuff online, but beyond that, I didn’t know.
When Garrett and I got back to Palm Springs—our home since January 2013, when I started the Coachella Valley Independent newspaper—I reached out to Jeff von Kaenel and Deborah Redmond, the owners and stewards of the Reno News & Review since 1995. The subject of the email was “Saying hello.”
“The N&R has been on my mind a lot since Garrett and I spent last week in Reno, visiting family for the first time since the pandemic hit,” I wrote. “Almost all of the friends I talked to mentioned how much they missed the RN&R. It was weird seeing signs of the paper everywhere—empty racks, Best Of plaques and certificates, etc.—knowing that its future is very much up in the air.
“I wanted to reach out to you to see if there’s anything I can do to help the RN&R. Frank is doing some amazing work, and I’m glad to see it is continuing online in a limited form. If there is anything I can do, please let me know.”
My intentions with that email were true; the RN&R means a lot to me. It was the first non-college newspaper in which I ever had a byline, as a summer intern in 1996, under the guidance of editors R.V. Scheide and Erik Espe. That was when I first met D. Brian Burghart, who would become one of my journalism mentors and a lifelong friend.
The RN&R was where I had my first job after I moved back to Reno post-college. The paper needed someone to fill in for a couple of months before Amy Paris was available to start her job as an RN&R staff writer. I had a couple of months free before I was slated to start a job at the Daily Sparks Tribune. It was a fit.
A year and a half later, RN&R editor Larry Henry called me and asked if I wanted to become the RN&R’s news editor. I said yes. When Larry left several months later, Jeff von Kaenel asked me if I wanted to become the RN&R’s editor. I said yes. I was still a month shy of my 25th birthday.
After I departed the RN&R in October 2001, the paper and I never lost touch. My writing popped up in the RN&R from time to time through the years. Deidre Pike, who took over as the RN&R editor after I left, volunteered to be my wine columnist when I launched the Coachella Valley Independent in 2013. (I, of course, accepted the offer.) I stayed in contact with Jeff and Deborah; the world of alternative newspaper publishers is rather small. Jeff and I even served together on the Association of Alternative Media’s board of directors for a couple of years.
While my intentions with that email to Jeff and Deborah were true, never in a million years did I think we’d get to where we are now—with me being the RN&R’s new owner and steward. But the universe had other plans.
Since I became the publisher on Jan. 31, Frank and I have been working hard to bring the RN&R back. We updated the website—which is still a work in progress—at our brand-new URL, RenoNR.com. We’ve beefed up our content, bringing back a lot of RN&R veterans, including Bob Grimm, Jessica Santina, David Robert, Todd South and Brad Bynum. And now, with this June edition, we’re back in print for the first time in 26 1/2 months.
But the RN&R’s future is not secure. My husband and I don’t have deep pockets, and we’ve lost a not-insubstantial amount of money in the four months since I became the owner. With this June edition, we’re still running in the red.
I think the RN&R’s future is bright; I really do. I’ve been overwhelmed, truly, by the amazingly positive reaction we’ve received since announcing our print-edition comeback as a monthly.
But if we’re going to make it, we’ll need more advertiser support than we’re getting now. We’ll need more reader support, too.
If you’re a business manager or owner who loves the RN&R, please advertise. If you’re a reader who has a few bucks to spare, please head to RenoNR.com and click “Support Us!” in the top right corner (on a desktop device) or at the top of the menu (on a mobile device).
Northern Nevada needs the RN&R. But the RN&R needs you, too.
Note: This is the publisher’s note that was included in our June print edition. Portions of this column were published at RenoNR.com on Jan. 27.