Bear with us on the blogs

I haven’t gotten back into the blogging routine after finally getting my home computer back in shape, but I’m planning on updating two or three times a week for now, and possiby daily at some point. I’ll be encouraging the other writers at the Messenger to do the same.

We believe that the newspaper business is changing fast, but no one knows exactly where it’s going. What’s likely, though, is that more and more people are going to expect daily news, even in rural areas like ours, and more and more people are going to get their news from the Internet. That’s a bit disconcerting for a small newspaper, which generates most of its revenue from ad sales in the paper itself and the shopper (Bargain Hunter).

If people make the move away from the paper and toward the web, where does the money come from that pays reporters to keep people up to date on the news? Some of that revenue will shift from the paper to the website, we hope, and our blogs will be part of the package we hope to bring readers via the Web.

Last night I attended the public hearing for Nexus. Onamia is considering a tax abatement for Nexus to build a new Mille Lacs Academy campus. It was predictable in some ways, with the usual opponents saying the expected things, and the council and Nexus officials following suit. At times it was confrontational and dramatic. I’ll try to capture some of the mood as well as the main points made in next week’s paper.

I also got a question over the phone yesterday about how the Messenger could say Mike DeCoursey had been charged with a crime when he had not yet been informed by the county that he had been charged. Short answer: We got public, on-the-record confirmation, and official documents, via fax, because we asked for them. If you ask a public official for public documents, and those documents actually exist, they are duty bound to give them to you. It so happened that we asked for the documents at the same time or even before they were being sent to DeCoursey. Since we got them by fax and he got them by mail, we knew before he did. We did inform Mr. DeCoursey of the charges and gave him a chance to reply. He came to our office, read the documents, and provided a written response.

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