At the January 4 meeting, Bob Burrows introduced himself to the club before telling us about the numerous changes to the news business and to the River Falls Journal, its successors and competitors.
Bob grew up in the blue-collar city of Bayonne, NJ, famous for "Sopranos" street scenes and boxer Chuck Wepner, the inspiration for Rocky (I, II, III, etc. – I lost count!) After a year at Marquette University on the other side of Wisconsin with too many distractions, Bob spent three years in the Navy tracking Soviet subs (pretty cool stuff!) After the Navy, college at UWRF set him in new directions, and he was won over by the openness and friendliness of Midwesterners. Several part-time jobs led to his starting on the journalism career that he continues to enjoy, despite the changes and challenges.
River Falls Journal ownership has evolved as newspapers everywhere have been affected, with the major upheaval caused by the internet starting around 2000. The decline in advertising revenue has triggered staff reductions, consolidation, changes in ownership, and adaptation of local journalism to electronic media. One phase for the Journal included becoming part of Rivertown Multimedia, a group of 11 local papers in Wisconsin and Minnesota.
The major change in 2019 was the combination of Hudson, River Falls, and New Richmond newspapers into the Star-Observer under O’Rourke Media Group. Then in 2020, another sale took place. Bob expressed optimism that the new owners are more involved and willing to listen to what local staff think about what will work in the area.
Bob continues to love what he does despite being (literally) pulled in more directions with five high schools, multiple sports, and the increase in the total athletic scene due to more girls sports. He gave a shout-out to the coaches who help him get the stories to the readers – especially the stories of games he can’t watch in person.  Much as he'd like to, Bob can't be in two places at once!