Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Minnesota papers highlight the importance of local news by publishing editions with blank front pages

The front page of the Austin, Minn. Daily Herald on Aug. 14.
(Photo by Daily Herald staff)
More than 200 Minnesota newspapers are making a bold statement about the importance of local, credible journalism by publishing one edition of their papers this week with deliberately empty front pages. An editorial in the Austin, Minn. Daily Herald says that the "whiteout" is taking place during the Aug. 13-19 Minnesota Newspaper Week, which is part of the Minnesota Newspaper Association's year-long 150th anniversary celebration.

"While alternative sources present alternative visions and alternative facts, community newspapers take credibility seriously — always have and always will, whether the platform we present on is electronic or paper," says the editorial. "Newsrooms are the furthest things from echo chambers. They are filled with professionals ready and willing to challenge each other to get the stories right. And if we stumble, we admit it to the world and press forward, fearlessly pursuing the truth and doing the best we can for our communities."

Newspapers play a vital role in communities. The Minnesota Newspaper Association's member newspapers have a total circulation of more than 2.2 million readers each week, the editorial says, and points out that a 2014 survey found that 89 percent of Minnesotans accessed a newspaper in the past month. As MNA Executive Director Lisa Hill said in a press release, "In many communities across the State of Minnesota, the newspaper is the main source of local news."

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