By Michael Schaffer Managing Editor
The Daily Iowegian
---- — An open house to honor Cindy Briggs’ 25 years of employment at the Daily Iowegian will be held Tuesday, Aug. 6 from 3:30-5 p.m. at the Iowegian office, 201 N. 13th St. in Centerville. The public is invited to congratulate Briggs and enjoy refreshments.
Briggs first came to the Daily Iowegian on Aug. 5, 1988.
Since then she has worked for three publishers: John Arnold, Brad Day and Becky Maxwell; two owners: Arnold as part of Smith Newspapers and since 2000 as part of Community Newspaper Holdings, Inc.; and worked with six editors.
Briggs said it’s hard to believe its been 25 years.
“It’s hard to believe it’s been that long. At the paper we are always working a day or two ahead, sometimes more than that, it makes time go by fast,” she said.
Briggs has had many job titles in the 25 years, going from typesetter to business manager.
“It’s been so long I can’t tell you what my original title was, but it might have been typesetter,” Briggs said, adding she also laid out the classified page. “My title now is business manager which is short for ‘does quite a few different things.’”
Other positions Briggs has filled at the Daily Iowegian includes front office assistant in December of 1988 where she waited on customers, answered the phone, measured the paper for billing, posted customer payments and helped Judy Arnold with other office functions.
“From that point on I’ve been involved in the business side of the paper but I’ve always helped out or filled in where needed,” Briggs said, which included selling ads for special sections and laying out the paper.
As business manager she is responsible for entering tickets for display ads, measuring and posting the papers to bill advertisers, measuring papers for the post office, postal reports, post most of the payments for display advertising, classified and circulation, wait on customers, answer the phone, close and balance display advertising and circulation at month end, balance the classified system, journal entries, financial reports and other everyday tasks.
Briggs and her husband, Paul Hill, have been together for 33 years. In 1984 while on vacation to visit a friend who lives east of Moravia, they got married at the Appanoose County courthouse in Centerville.
The friend, Bill Ward, who farms east of Moravia, had purchased a second farm and he didn’t need the house and some of the other buildings. He made them an offer they couldn’t refuse.
“We were living in Pittsford, Vermont at the time (we are both Vermont natives) and the price of land was very high,” Briggs said. “Bill offered us the house and 10 acres at a price that was less than we could buy an acre of land for in Vermont so we packed up and headed west.”
For 18 years they lived east of Moravia and seven years ago they moved to Rathbun.
Briggs said she has enjoyed the last 25 years.
“Any job has it challenges and working for a newspaper you are under constant deadlines, even on the business side.” Briggs said. “You can’t help but have a bad day now and then and get frustrated but overall I enjoy what I do.”
Briggs said technology and the integration of computers are probably the biggest changes she has seen.
“Now people would rather read the paper on their computer, phone, etc,” Briggs said. “They don’t take the time to actually sit down with the paper in their hands and read it. I would much rather sit on the porch listening to nature and read the paper then stare at some machine to read it. I think it’s much more relaxing, especially after dealing with machines all day at work. My husband says I have ink in my blood. I guess after all these years I still don’t mind getting some on my fingers reading the paper.”
Another change is the demise of individually-owned newspapers in favor of corporation-owned papers.
Birmingham, Ala.-based CNHI owns the Daily Iowegian, the Ottumwa Courier, the Oskaloosa Herald and the Knoxville and Pella papers.
During the course of 25 years Briggs has seen staff go from about 30 people to 13. She also said the Daily Iowegian is lucky to still be a daily paper.
Briggs did single out Becky Maxwell, the Daily Iowegian publisher, as someone she feels fortunate to work for.
“We work well together and Becky is not afraid to help out where necessary or when needed. That makes the job easier.
“I work with a great group of people. We all have our bad days but at the end of the day we can still smile and laugh with each other,” she said.