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How about celebrating and rallying behind the local, community paper?

It's sad how the landscape of newspapers has changed over the years, especially since I began in the business in the early 1980s. The past 40 years have been turbulent at best.
Two of the newspapers I worked for during my high school and college days are no longer in existence: the Brownton Bulletin and Gibbon Gazette. They both served farming communities in central Minnesota.
I owned a newspaper in West Concord that was combined with another Dodge County newspaper a few years back.
It seems like the list of papers going out of business has accelerated in recent years. This past week another one made the list. The International Falls Journal, founded in 1911, ceased publication on June 24.
Last week, U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar recognized the International Falls newspaper by highlighting the paper's legacy of quality reporting and commitment to delivering trustworthy news on the Senate floor. While giving the recognition, she also reiterated the need to pass a bill currently being debated to help news publishers collectively negotiate better terms with digital platforms such as Goggle and Facebook.
"As the daughter of a newspaperman (Jim Klobuchar- Star Tribune), I grew up knowing just how important local newspaper like the International Falls Journal are… local papers played an irreplaceable role in my father's life, as they continue to today for countless reads," Klobuchar said in the Senate.
She continued, "But today, newspapers of all sizes are struggling and closing… We can't stand by and watch this happen to our independent press. We must give independent papers the chance to compete."
Ad revenue for U.S. newspapers plummeted from $49.4 billion in 2005 to $14.3 billion in 2018. Two other companies, Facebook and Google - worth over $2.4 trillion combined - became advertising titans during that time.
Despite the oftentimes hopelessness that radiates with the closures of newspapers, I am committed to battling the good fight. I believe readers want their local newspaper. We hear from different readers every week about the value the newspaper plays in their lives.
In fact, our readership has skyrocketed over the past year. I don't care how many people point to Facebook and other social media. Nothing replaces the local newspaper in providing communities with local news. We have a niche that no social media will ever be able to top or even come close to delivering. We capture the moments, big and small, that together tell a beautiful story of the place we call home.
When is the last time Goggle or Facebook showed up at a local high school graduation or sporting event to provide stories and photos? How about community celebrations like Medford's Straight River Days, Dairy Days in Owatonna, Ellendale Days, the Blooming Prairie Fourth of July or the Steele County Free Fair? I'll answer that for you: never, and probably never will!
People can get all intimate with Facebook and Goggle as they want. I chuckle when people rave about how many likes they have received from a Facebook posting they have made. Most of the time, those likes aren't even from the community where they live. That may be fine, but I can assure you the social media giants will not provide hometown news like we do. I challenge anyone to prove to me otherwise.
My only hope is that those people will snap out of the honeymoon stage they have been flirting around with for several years with Facebook and Google. It's time to come to your senses and realize the local newspaper has and always will have the community's best interest at heart. Our newspaper has been doing so for the past 128 years. And, in our case, the community is all of Steele County, not just one particular town.
Now, isn't it time to go in hot pursuit of celebrating and rallying behind the local newspaper?

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