Every morning between 5:30 and 6:00 I go on my computer and read the Willmar and Marshall newspapers. Mostly to read the sports section to see what happened the night before in high school sports. Back in the day these papers were delivered to my front steps by a newspaper boy before 6 o’clock. Not anymore, things have changed drastically for the newspaper business.
I have many friends who are in the newspaper business, sports reporters that cover the same high school sports beat as me. I have built relationships over the years with Adam Conroy of the Western Guard in Madison, Bryon Higgin from the Minneota Mascot, Joe Brown West Central Tribune in Willmar, Dave Hickey, Dawson Sentinal, Bruce Olson of Montevideo, Scott Thoma of Minneota, and Sam Theil and Josh Vanklompenburg from the Marshall Independent.
Over the years, the bigger newspapers, like Marshall and Willmar have had numerous turnovers in the sports department. Sports reporters come and go. But the local small town newspaper owner who basically does everything, like cover sports, school board meetings, city council meetings and community events stick around because this is their business.
Newspapers are so important to a community and it’s really sad to see what the internet has done to them. It is a digital world now and some local newspapers have adapted to bringing in revenue off there online presence with paid subscriptions and with advertisers. Change is hard and difficult at times. Look what is happening in the retail world. It seems that the majority of people are ordering from Amazon online and not physically shopping in a store. Shopko, JC Penney, Kmart, Toys are Us and the list goes on of stores that have closed or are closing. All because of internet online buying.
At the radio station we subscribe to many of the local newspapers in our area. I still enjoy and prefer holding and reading a newspaper. I’m guessing that’s not true for the younger generation. They get there information off of their phones, well I guess I do too, but there is something to be said to having my cup of coffee and sitting down with a newspaper and reading it.
When I was twelve years old my brother Greg and I had a newspaper route in New Ulm. We delivered 125 New Ulm Journals in our neighborhood every day! We made good money and it was fun. I learned many things from being a newspaper boy. Like hard work, how to handle money and how to run from barking dogs! Those days are long gone. I have great respect for the local newspapers in our area. It is a trying time for newspaper owners, since 2004 the US has lost over 2000 non daily local newspapers. Staff at the St. Cloud Times, the Willmar Tribune and Marshall Independent have been cut drastically. For me its sad to see this happening.
I do both, reading the local papers online and holding the paper in my hand. I prefer the latter. This new generation coming up gets all there information from their phone and I guess it is what it is. I pray that the newspapers and for that matter, radio and television can survive this ongoing change in our society. They need to adapt and change and some do it well and some not so well. The bottom line is that we need them.