Imagine, if you will, this community without its local newspaper.

The empty front page in today’s edition is designed to do just that, reminding readers of the important role newspapers play. It’s an effort by more than 200 newspapers across the state, and part of Minnesota Newspaper Week and the 150th anniversary celebration of the Minnesota Newspaper Association.

Newspapers play a vital role in communities across the state. A full 89 percent of Minnesota residents have accessed newspapers or their websites during a typical month, according to a 2014 Scarborough readership survey. Newspapers topped all other media as the most useful source in each of the survey’s six categories: local sports, community schools, things to do, crime, voting decisions and local government.

Day in and day out, newspapers provide in-depth coverage of our community, both in print and online.

It’s been said that newspapers provide the first rough draft of history. We take that and our watchdog role seriously, covering the City Council, School Board and the county Board of Commissioners to ensure readers get accurate information about what our elected officials are saying and doing, how they’re spending taxpayer money and that they’re acting in the community’s best interests.

But it’s not just governmental issues on our pages. Our goal is to inform, educate and oftentimes, to entertain readers.

That’s why we cover new business openings, the county fair, high school sports, school plays, and Veterans and Memorial Day observances, and include church listings, filing dates for elected offices and the community events calendar. In our pages you’ll find honor rolls, National Honor Society inductees, 4-Hers awarded at the county fair, and columns and letters to the editor written by your friends and neighbors.

Community newspapers provide lots of good news, with stories and photos about everything from Scout projects to the men, women and children who make this such a special place.

We value our readers and work hard to deliver a quality product. Without them, this newspaper would look like today’s front page: blank.

Reach Regional Managing Editor Suzanne Rook at 507-333-3134.

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