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From the Editor’s Notebook:

By Staff | Oct 6, 2019

I was having a bad week.

Suffice it to say things were not going well. Stories for this edition of the Faribault County Register were not working out. Plus, we were trying to finish up one magazine and start work on two others. It was one of those weeks where I wondered if it was all worth the effort.

And, the weather was wet and dreary to add to my sense of frustration.

But then something happened to change my whole attitude.

A woman stopped me on the street and told me how much she loved the newspaper. She couldn’t hardly wait to get each issue and read it. Even in the winter, when she is in Arizona and the paper comes a week late, she reads it all, every bit, when it finally arrives. She had lived here in Blue Earth all of her life and this was the best the newspaper has ever been, she said.

Wow, that kind of praise will bolster your whole attitude. I thanked her and added that it was a group effort from our terrific and dedicated staff of 10. It isn’t only me.

Just a little while later another woman stopped by my office to tell me that a recent column I had written about Louis Maday and Jason Niebuhr had moved her greatly. She knew Louie well, had never met Jason, but said the column meant so much to her, and she had shed tears while reading it.

She had made a special trip to the Register office just to tell me that. That moved me, and gave me a definite attitude adjustment.

And to top it off, I received a personal note in the mail that had been included with a subscription renewal. It was from a former dentist in Blue Earth who now lives in Kasson. You can probably guess who I mean.

He wrote “Chuck, I really look forward to receiving the paper every week. You do a great job. Jerry.”

Wow, how did these folks know I was having a bad week and could really use a word of encouragement? It sure makes what we do here each week seem appreciated and worth all the hard work.

There are others of course, who comment on what we do from time to time. Some are nice, and some, well, not so nice. We sure can’t please everyone.

Then there are those who worry about us. They read about the demise of newspapers and fear we are going down the same path.

Some have shared newspaper clippings about the death of newspapers with me. The New York Times even had a 12-page special section devoted to how newspapers are dying off. Yes, 12 full pages. I was astounded to read it.

Its featured story was about the Warroad Pioneer in Minnesota ceasing publication. That was the first six pages. It was quite a story.

What they did not report was that a new newspaper was started in Warroad soon after the Pioneer ceased to exist. Some former owners of the newspaper started to once again publish a paper for the town.

The Times story reported 2,100 newspapers went out of business in the past 15 years. I had seen that number listed before at 1,400, and that is still a large number.

Many of those were cases where a newspaper combined with another newspaper. We have seen that here in Faribault County, with the Wells Mirror and the Kiester Courier-Sentinel becoming one new paper, the South Central News.

It does mean there is one less newspaper in the world. I have been one of those publishers in the past who was forced to combine a newspaper in with a neighboring paper. So, I guess I am guilty of “killing off” a newspaper.

But, it is not all bad news.

There is the case of the town of Janesville, Minnesota, which was without a newspaper for 10 years after the Janesville Argus ceased to exist. Now two women have started publishing the Janesville Journal. I wonder if the New York Times will do a story on that?

Suffice it to say, the newspaper industry is going through some changes, as are many types of businesses. And, it will be interesting to see how it all washes out. Is print dead? Is our industry a dinosaur on the way to extinction? Only time will tell.

But if it does happen, I worry for the coverage of news, if professional journalists go away, and only the bloggers and those with one-sided opinions are left.

Newspapers are a business, you know. And businesses need to be profitable in order to continue to exist.

Luckily, here at the Faribault County Register, we have strong support from our readers and advertisers and are very thankful for that.

And for the fact some of our readers stop in, tell us we are doing a good job, and make our day, just when we needed it.

Thanks for reading us.