Sunday, January 19, 2020

Providing a niche that no one else does

As journalists, we are usually the ones behind the camera asking questions and taking photos. But recently the role was reversed for our staff at the DCI.

A few weeks ago a crew from Twin Cities TPT (Public TV) came to Dodge County to feature our newspaper and some of the challenges we’ve been experiencing in recent years. The story aired statewide on PBS stations last Friday night. It is also available for live stream at if you’re interested in pulling it up.

Many of the points that I highlighted during my interview have been shared with readers over the past few years. I have always tried to be transparent about the state of local journalism and the newspaper industry.

In the TPT story, Matthew Weber of the University of Minnesota Hubbard School of Journalism highlighted some key points that I think many people fail to realize or think about. Weber said the decline of local news coverage decreases your civic engagement. In other words, there is a direct correlation between local news coverage and people being involved in their communities. Basically, it comes down to this: whenever there is less local news, it’s less likely that you are going to vote in local elections and be involved in the community.

Local newspapers provide a niche that no one else does. We cover local news of Dodge County and western Olmsted County more than any other media outlet. We pride ourselves on bringing readers all local news every week.

I ask that you would encourage your friends, neighbors and relatives to purchase a subscription to our newspaper if they haven’t already. There are about 15,000 households in our coverage area and our newspaper currently hits about 1,600 of those. As you can see, there is room to grow and people out there that should be subscribing to the newspaper. It would be nice to double our circulation over the next few months.

Our newspaper’s survival depends on two things: subscribers and advertisers. Without the two, there is no newspaper.

TPT interviewed a couple local Kasson residents. Douglas Leth affirmed that it would be “bad if we didn’t have the paper.” As he pointed out, you need the paper because you can’t get all the information on TV.

And Brenda Petersen made a good point that people take the paper for granted. “If it were to totally go away, it would be a problem,” Petersen said.

The newspaper industry has faced a whirlwind of changes over the past few years. We are fighting to maintain a community institution that has been around for more than 125 years. We need your help to keep this beacon of an informational source shining for years to come.

And yes, it was a little different being on the other side of the camera. But rest assured, I ended up taking a photo of the TPT crew so I could be somewhat in my comfort zone.

It’s back to the grind stone and going in hot pursuit of chasing down local community news.


See full story in this week’s print edition or subscribe online. Please subscribe here or current subscribers can login here.

Steele County Times & DCI

Steele County Times
411 E. Main St.
P.O. Box 247
Blooming Prairie, MN 55917

Dodge County Independent
121 West Main St.
Kasson, MN 55944

Dodge County Printing
121 West Main St.
Kasson, MN 55944


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