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Making a point with a little shock

By Staff | Aug 13, 2017

Were you shocked by our front page of the Faribault County Register this week? Or at least quite surprised?

Good, because that was our intent. A front page of a newspaper completely devoid of news is pretty shocking, indeed. Even to us. But, we did it to get your attention.

We certainly didn’t do it because there wasn’t any news this week. There was plenty of it. Just go through all the pages with stories in this week’s Register and you will see what I mean.

No, we did it to make a point. What would the world be like without newspapers? Especially small town community newspapers like the Register.

Who would cover all the news of Faribault County? Oh, you might get some news from radio and TV, and maybe there would be something on Facebook once in a while to keep you informed of a few things.

But, as a total news and information package for the communities in our area, it is pretty hard to beat the local newspaper.

We cover the news of Faribault County. Not the news from Washington, not the news from the capitol in St. Paul.

We are all about local news, all of the time, each and every week.

So, the blank front page this week is to make you think about what it would be like if we simply disappeared.

Good riddance, maybe some smart aleck would say. But, hopefully the rest of you would be upset and disappointed.

The Faribault County Register is not the only newspaper in the state of Minnesota that is running a blank front page this week. More than 200 newspapers across the state are doing it.

We might be one of the first ones to come out with a no-news front page, however. Maybe even the very first one.

The idea is for Minnesota newspapers to have a blank front page during the week of Aug. 13-19.

Most weekly newspapers come out on Wednesdays and Thursdays. The daily newspapers in the state were urged to come out with a blank front page on Wednesday.

But, since the Register has an official dateline of Monday, Aug. 14 on this issue, we come out at the beginning of the ‘Whiteout Week.’

In fact, this issue hit the news stands on Saturday. That might be days before any other paper in the state came out with a blank front page.

Be that as it may, you may be wondering who thought up this hair-brained idea and why.

It has been in the works for over a year. This year of 2017 is the 150th year of the start of the Minnesota Newspaper Association.

Its board of directors as well as the past presidents of the association, wanted to come up with something big to get the attention of the people of the state about the importance of newspapers.

And, while there is a National Newspaper Week in October, the Minnesota association decided to ask Gov. Mark Dayton to declare this week in August as Minnesota Newspaper Week.

And, he obliged.

The Minnesota Newspaper Association is not the only newspaper entity celebrating a big birthday this year. The Star-Tribune of Minneapolis is also 150 years old.

The Faribault County Register is not quite there yet. But, we are darn close. If you look at our flag (the nameplate on the top of our blank front page), you can see that it says Vol. 148. Translated, that means this is our 148th year of publication.

That is not actually ‘precisely’ true. The truth is the Faribault County Register was started in 1887. That means we are ‘only’ 130 years old.

But, since the Register is actually the result of the Blue Earth Post and Faribault County Register combining into one newspaper a number of years back, we count our origin to when the Post was first published May 29, 1869.

Which is 148 years ago.

However, if we trace back to the very first newspaper in Blue Earth (and Faribault County), we could go all the way back to April 6, 1861, when the Blue Earth City News was published for the first time by Isaac Botsford and Frank A. Blackmer. That, folks, was 156 years ago.

And that is a lot of years of bringing the local, community news to the citizens of Faribault County.

A copy of that very first issue of 1861 is in the Blue Earth Community Library, in case you want to take a look at it. It is an interesting read.

No matter how many years we have been around, we hope to be serving the community of Faribault County for many more years to come.

Maybe even 148 more.

Thanks for reading us.