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Putting ‘news’ in our ‘news’paper

By Staff | Jun 15, 2014

I once was the guest speaker to a class of sixth graders.

My topic was to tell the group all about what I do. So I did.

I explained to them all about the profession of journalism and what one has to do as a reporter, photographer and editor. I focused on how we create a weekly newspaper in a small town.

I told them how we start with 20 blank pages and then fill them with news, photos and ads.

They always hit me with some interesting questions. One popular question seemed to be “How much money do you make?” After the teacher rebuked the student for asking that, my answer was always, “Not enough.”

One question from an inquisitive middle schooler has always stuck with me.

“How do you find enough news to put in the paper? Nothing ever happens here.”

I answered with how we attend meetings, cover sports and go out and look for stories.

“But, what if there is no news that week,” he continued. “What would you put in the paper?”

You would think that would be every editor’s nightmare. But, the truth is, in my 40 years of publishing a newspaper every week, that has never happened.

I could credit the fact we plan our news coverage every week and come up with ideas for stories. But it is also because there is always something going on that is newsworthy. Even in a small town.

Most of the time we don’t have any trouble finding enough items to fill our pages. In fact, the opposite is usually true. Most weeks we have too much “stuff” to fit in to the amount of space we have. Sometimes several good, quality photos and local news stories have to be left out or saved for the following week’s edition.

We never seem to lack for news. And, this week’s Faribault County Register is a prime example.

This newspaper is chock-full of stories and photos all dealing with what is going on around Faribault County. Unlike daily newspapers, which rely on AP wire stories concerning state and national news to fill some of their space, we only cover our county and keep everything local.

This means most of our stories are written by our hard-working and dedicated editorial staff of three people.

In this week’s Register you will find stories about things going on all around the county, including events coming up in Winnebago, Minnesota Lake and Kiester.

The front page has important news stories about Blue Earth losing its city administrator, the Wells city-owned bar closing and new administrators at Winnebago’s Parker Oaks facility.

Inside are stories about the retiring teachers from both Blue Earth Area and United South Central Schools. There are stories about athletes from both schools competing at the state level.

Then there are the interesting people feature stories, one concerning a 102-year-old man joining the Legion in Blue Earth and another about a family who will compete together in a marathon.

There are also those bad news items concerning a truck fire and a two-vehicle accident which resulted in serious injuries. And, there are stories of court cases which show not everything is wonderful in this world.

There are also the photos. This week’s Register is filled with some interesting and sometimes dramatic images. Firemen at work, an accident scene, a portrait of a veteran and an athlete suffering a spill, ending a dream of repeating as a state champ.

News, news and more news. Sometimes good news, sometimes not. But news nonetheless.

It is what we do each and every week. We go out and gather the news and then assemble it and send it out to you, our readers. It takes our full dedicated staff at the newspaper to get this accomplished on deadline each and every week.

I would like to go back and give a copy of this week’s Register to that sixth grader, just to show him there always is a lot of news, even in a small town.

Maybe that sixth grader is now an adult and working at a newspaper somewhere himself, inspired by my speech. But I doubt it.

Perhaps I should have lied and said we make gobs of money.

As always, our entire Register staff remains dedicated to bringing you the best “newsy” newspaper we possibly can.

Thanks for reading us.