My grandson Harry’s “other” grandfather, Bruce Ause, of Red Wing, was recently awarded the honor of “2013 Red Wing Neighbor of the Year” by the Kiwanis Club. He was honored for his pivotal role in building the Environmental Learning Center at the Anderson Center there, and his work as a vocal advocate for marriage equality, environmental issues, and his role as an educator.
As you can imagine, there was an article about him in the Red Wing Republican Eagle, and an award to bring home. Harry decided that he, too, would like to win an award and have an article about him in the newspaper.
Harry is a bright boy, and has asked me if I would write an article about him in this newspaper. His parents have told him that he has to earn an award, so he is busy looking for a way to bring one home. In the meantime, I will dedicate 100 words to him, because I am his grandmother.
What Harry has noticed is something that some people have lost sight of — the role of a newspaper in a community. Certainly there are many media that fill the role of community reporter. Newspapers, television, radio, and Internet all have their roles in that regard. It so happens that since Internet is the newest, it is the latest to be purported to replace all the others, mostly print. But over time, newspapers were going to replace word-of-mouth; radio was going to replace newspapers, television was going to replace radio, and none of it happened. The great thing about humans is that they yearn to communicate with each other and have embraced all of the technologies that help them do so.
Each of the technologies we use has its advantages. Newspapers are the most tactile and permanent, although by their very nature and medium are not produced to last forever. Snippets of newspaper articles and photos are much more likely to end up being saved and looked at again than from any other medium. (How many times do we look at our old videos of the eighth-grade basketball championship team compared to the number of times Mom drags out the clipping from the paper to show around?) Newspapers’ news-gathering operations fuel the best and most reliable sites on the web. Radio, television, and the web are most immediate, an attribute that newspapers can also achieve through their own web sites. The web can be carried around with you to be accessed anywhere. So can a newspaper.
Beyond a news medium’s immediacy or its mobility, however, is the unifying properties of newspapers, especially free circulation newspapers like the Winona Post. Every Wednesday and weekend, in over 20,000 households surrounding Winona in Minnesota and Wisconsin, there is the opportunity for over 50,000 people to read the same news at approximately the same time.
Being informed of community events, opinions, advertising news, and government action or inaction can bring a community together to address problems , celebrate successes, and interact with each other. You don’t need a radio, television, computer, or a subscription. You simply pick up the Winona Post and peruse it at a time that is convenient for you.
If, like Harry, you can’t read, you can just look at the pictures.
It’s a small world
There were these two guys sitting in a German restaurant in Shanghai…
There were another two guys, who, after an extended stay in the largest city proper in the world, were yearning for something a little less…Chinese. They came upon a German restaurant, and visions of sausages and beer danced in their heads. They walked in the restaurant, looked around for a good table, and spotted the first two guys. All four men are from Winona, and were in Shanghai on business — Peerless Chain and Fastenal! Winona has many global ties and world travelers among us, and it was only a matter of time before these two global business groups met half-way across the world.
It just goes to show that you can run, but you can’t hide!