RiverReader was conceived in 2017 by Lynn Kocal. She and her husband, Tom Kocal, had owned the Prairie Advocate for 40+ years, and had sold it to Sauk Valley Media, a Dixon-based company, in 2013.

After a few years, it became apparent that Carroll County was ready for a new medium, online news. With the advent of social media, newspapers were becoming more and more outdated. Studies had shown that fewer than 50% of people under the age of 50 read newspapers, and that more and more people are getting news online.

Lynn had designed a great web page for the Prairie Advocate, when was the owner of it, even before the internet was widely used in Carroll County. The website was well ahead of its time.

As founders of RiverReader, Lynn and Tom chose to push forward with RiverReader, in partnership with daughter and son-in-law, Sarah and Robert Hanviriyapunt. RiverReader launched in April of 2017, and was quickly adopted as one of Lanark’s and Carroll County’s news sources.

As many readers know, Lynn was diagnosed with lung cancer quite suddenly, in November 2017, and she passed away a few months later, in January of 2018. This was not the end of RiverReader, but it certainly was a huge blow to the family, and to the business they shared.

Robert and Sarah moved forward with RiverReader shortly after Lynn’s death in January, and soon they were covering live events like the Carroll County Fair, and so many other events in and around Carroll County. At this moment, the family is ready to move on, as RiverReader is not part of the future they see for themselves. RiverReader will begin winding down operations, starting February 10th.

Thank you for supporting our sponsors! They help us bring you the news.
Thank you for supporting our sponsors! They help us bring you the news.

At the current time, it has become very difficult for this two-person team to continue running RiverReader, while raising two children and living very busy lives.

Lanark City Council meetings will continue to be covered live on Facebook, until operations cease. News will continue to be reported, for the time being, and things will run as usual, until the beginning of May. At that point, we hope to be transitioning the business to new owners.

RiverReader is currently looking for new owners to take over operations. Robert and Sarah are not interested in running the business *for* new owners, but would be thrilled to pass the business on to someone who will serve Carroll County’s public with free news. It is an excellent opportunity for anyone already involved in photography or those who enjoy attending events in and around Carroll County. Online news is an exciting new type of business, and it is only going to grow, in the future.

Please email sarah@riverreader.org for more information about this opportunity to be a business owner in Carroll County, and to have a positive impact on the lives of people living here. 

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