WEST FARGO — At a time when so many newspapers are struggling or shutting down printing presses, a 13-year-old West Fargo entrepreneur is getting into the business. Her publication, "News Neighborly," is a break from the heavy news of late.
It's Thursday, June 25, and it's deadline day for publisher and editor Grace Leier.
Leier is an eighth-grader who has quickly become a writing sensation this summer with her weekly publication.
"I like it because it is just easy news," Grace said. "It gives me something to do, and I think it helps people realize it (news) is not all bad."
She started her venture into publishing while housebound at the start of the pandemic as a way of keeping her friends and family connected.
"I thought, 'why don't I start a paper, so then I have something to do and people can read good stuff,'" she said.
Grace not only writes and does the layout for her paper, she invites and edits guest columns that are submitted. One guest column was from an 86-year-old neighbor.
"Some write in, like this week, an article about how phones used to work," Grace explained.
Once the latest edition is printed — 13 editions in total so far — the paper is put in the mail to go to friends and relatives around the region who await the latest edition.
"I send papers to grandpas and grandmas, aunts and uncles, some of my parents' cousins," Grace said. "My grandma gives it to her neighbor who gives it to her daughter and it makes it back to my grandma."
The News Neighborly is heavy on light news, fun facts and space for well wishes and messages her readers can send to be published.
"Actually, people will place ads, 'happy birthday' to this person and 'Happy Father's Day' to someone," she said.
Classified ads and donations help pay for the cost of the paper, and if Grace has her way, the success this summer means she may continue the independent publication throughout the year, and hopefully, after the pandemic is over.