By Jordan Gerard

Editor, The Caledonia Argus

First of all, I need to start this column with what I am thankful for, otherwise it’s going to sound like a whole lot of whinging, and that’s not my intention. I am thankful for our subscribers, readers and advertisers, my staff and the fact that print is still not dead, but the realization that people do not read it weekly as they should. 

Lately, I haven’t had a good relationship with journalism. I am frustrated by the amount of territory I should be covering, and the workforce I don’t have in order to cover it fairly and efficiently. I am frustrated that burnout keeps edging at me.

I am frustrated with the job industry, and the fact that I have less than 10 days to fill our front desk/office manager position before Jean leaves us behind for a well-earned retirement (and yes, you’re going to be missed). 

I am frustrated that a paper from another county with more staff and resources believes they can come in and snatch up advertising, legal/official newspaper bids, stories and readers (for free) and push us out. I am frustrated that I even have to say that out loud. 

After a lot of thinking, I’ve finally figured out it’s better to be thankful for what you do have, not what you don’t have. And if you feel like fighting the world, it’s better to fight the feeling instead, because the world will probably win. 

So here I am fighting along. Reporting as well as I can, going to seven local government meetings a month as well as I can. Craig attending two local government meetings twice a month each, in addition to extra feature stories and photos as well as he can. Encouraging Greg and Jean to sell ads and manage office tasks as well as they can to keep our nearly 131-year-old newspaper chugging along. Holding up my part of the earth. 

We’re a staff of four locally located people. With 569 square miles of towns, people and news we should be covering because we are the last fully local newspaper in the most southeastern corner of Minnesota. We’re just trying to do the best job we can, with the best resources we have, and sometimes that requires a little help from our readers and businesses and some patience. 

This holiday season and beyond, I ask you to remember your local hometown newspaper, The Caledonia Argus. And remember that we do have local people in local journalism/newspaper publishing working for our local readers and businesses. 

My staff and I don’t do these jobs for our health. We do it because we love our small towns. I do it because I love journalism – small town journalism, because every good small town deserves a good newspaper – and I want to keep loving journalism.

This is, perhaps, the boldest column I’ve written. It’s probably charged with a little too much emotion, but only for the love and passion of journalism and thriving small towns who support local businesses. We are a local business.  

Finally, there’s a lot more I could say on this matter. I could phrase it more eloquently, corporately, vaguely, but this’ll do for now. And actually, the whole issue is more kittywampus than anyone not connected to journalism could ever imagine, but we’re holding up our part of the earth as well as we can. 

Hold it up with us.

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