The Pierce County Journal is pleased to announce the addition of long-time River Falls resident Jeff Bjork to its staff as the community outreach director for commercial sales and advertising in River Falls and Pierce County.
“We’re excited to have Jeff on The Journal team,” said Publisher John McLoone. “His dedication to community mirrors everything we’re trying to accomplish in Pierce County. We’ve worked hard to build the past two years to make The Journal the best newspaper in the state. We’re honored that Pierce County residents have made us Wisconsin’s fastestgrowing newspaper. Now, with Jeff helping spearhead marketing efforts, we want to help Pierce County’s businesses. The Journal is the most effective advertising tool in the market. Jeff’s expertise and knowledge is second to none.”
Bjork spent 30-plus years in the manufacturing industry, designing and supplying metal components. He’s excited to come full circle back to where his working life started: The newspaper industry.
“Back as a youth on the west side of River Falls in the summer of 1973, I started delivering the afternoon edition of the St. Paul Dispatch,” Bjork said. “To me, this paper route was the best. Not only was I making some money, but I got the chance to meet many individuals of all walks and phases of their lives and hear their stories.”
Bjork estimates he delivered about 35-40 daily papers Monday through Saturday and sometimes well over 100 on Sunday mornings. His west side paper route continued for nearly three years until his family moved across town to the east side in Spring 1976. At that time, he picked up a route delivering the morning Pioneer Press to an area that covered most of Falcon Heights to Oak Knoll and Cascade Avenue.
“Being an early riser, the morning route was great for me, but I truly don’t think my teachers at the junior high thought much of it as I was wound even tighter before the opening bell and they were forced to find other ways to harness my energy,” Bjork said. “I was a live wire to say the least and this early morning start just got things started a little earlier I guess.”
Bjork’s morning paper route lasted about two years until Summer 1977 when things changed drastically for his family. On July 31, 1977, his older brother Mike died at age 17 in a fall at Glen Park. Experiencing his parents, Cecil and Marian, lose their oldest child was the hardest thing Bjork has ever gone through, he said.
“After the loss of my brother, my St. Paul paper route days ended, but not my days in the newspaper industry,” Bjork said. “Thanks to Mr. Geroge Kramer I started work at what at that time was the best local newspaper in the state of Wisconsin, the River Falls Journal.”
Every Saturday morning until he left for college in 1981, and when he wasn’t participating in any sports on Wednesday afternoons, he would be at the RF Journal office on Walnut Street (now Cleveland Family Chiropractic) “working his tail off.” He did a little bit of everything, including stuffing flyers, delivering papers to the post office and stores, running errand and later on, writing sports articles for Pat Patericka.
“Mr. Kramer, Mr. Patericka, Art Smith, Joe Jorgenson, Pat Hunter and Margaret and Michael Kramer were some of the best people I ever worked with and I will cherish my time with them and the River Falls Journal forever.”
Thirty-plus years later with college degrees in hand, married to “the best wife ever,” and having three great boys, Bjork sis reading to return to his newspaper roots.
“Circling back to the newspaper industry and being able to work in the county my family has been in for generations is beyond my wildest dreams,” Bjork said. “I want to thank Journal owner and Paperboy John McLoone and the rest of the team at the Pierce County Journal for giving me this chance to regain my roots and grow with them as the the Pierce County Journal becomes the newspaper of choice for all residents in the area.”
Bjork can be reached at [email protected]