I always wanted to save the world — or at least try. I took this job because I thought that I would make a difference. It turns out I don’t, but our readers do.
At the Times we can publish stories and talk about issues until we are blue in the face, but I’ve learned it takes people who listen and care to actually make a difference —and they do.
Take for example Lakes and Pines grocery delivery program for seniors. In January, the Times published a story about how the program helps people get groceries delivered to their homes, yet the program was on the brink of collapsing because it didn’t have enough volunteer drivers.
Immediately after the story hit the newsstands, Lakes and Pines received a flood of calls for people willing to volunteer as well as more people requesting the services. Within two months, the number of volunteers delivering groceries grew from one to 17, with another six waiting to complete background checks and other paper work.
This surge in volunteers allowed Lakes and Pines to expand their service to reach more people in need.
Also, many who called to volunteer in the grocery program actually discovered other Lakes and Pines services that were a better fit for them, like senior home repair and chore help, tax clinics and the Head Start education program.
That is the story I keep near my desk, to remind me that my community is strong and together we can have real, lasting impact on the lives of our neighbors.
Helping build and support our community is why we do what we do. Sometimes it’s getting the word out about local businesses. Sometimes it is by recognizing good works. Sometimes it is by drawing attention to a problem.
We’ve invested in a talented staff who are trained through the Blandin Foundation and Poynter Institute to strengthen connections within their community, address issues and spur action to support the health and vibrancy of our communities. In the past year, we’ve doubled down on listening to the needs of our cities by hosting focus groups dedicated to improving our news content and service.
This commitment has paid off. Since 2013, the Kanabec County Times has been honored with 26 awards from the Minnesota Newspaper Association including in categories of hard news, human interest, government/public affairs reporting and social issues.
Despite the many options our readers have for information, they have proven they value our commitment to high-quality journalism. In fact, the number of print subscriptions to the Times has reached its highest number since 2011. In addition to this growing number of subscriptions, our website (www.MoraMinn.com) reached a record high number of pageviews in June.
It is because of our loyal readers that we can strengthen and develop the skills of our reporters, editors and all other staff who help the Times serve the public interest.
We are invested in the health and success of our community. I hope that our readers and local businesses will continue to invest in us. Thank you to everyone who values our work.
Kirsten Faurie is the editor of the Kanabec County Times. She can be contacted at email@example.com or by calling 320-225-5128.