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Editorial: Without your newspaper, here is what you would have missed this year

If the West As you may have already noticed, the front page of the West Central Tribune is blank today.

The West Central Tribune, along with 200 other newspapers across Minnesota are participating in Whiteout Day by publishing blank front pages as part of Minnesota Newspaper Week.

These blank front pages show readers what the lack of news coverage might look like in a city or town without a daily or weekly newspaper.

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Readers will not get the accuracy, breadth or depth of local coverage of news and features via other sources: like blogs, email, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat or Twitter, just to name a few.

Newspapers serve significant and vital roles in communities:

  • They serve a watchdog role holding government and other public institutions accountable, exposing corruption and graft.
  • They publish the social news - from births to deaths,  weddings to anniversaries, and to calendars and event previews.
  • They are great and trusted sources of advertising information.
  • They help create social awareness, highlighting the need for change in different laws, child labor rules, overtime regulations and public health crises, like the current opioid addiction crisis.

They play a major role in development of arts, culture, science, technology and commerce.

Central Tribune was not providing news coverage for Kandiyohi County and the rest of west central Minnesota, here are a few stories you would have missed in the past year.

Aug. 22, 2016: Watson girl died of “homicidal violence”

Sept. 6: Paying respects to Jacob - Heinrich reported to have led authorities to remains

Oct. 29, 2016: Business creates button to promote Willmar unity

Nov. 10, 2016: Schwantes, Alvarado and Asmus selected for Willmar City Council

Dec. 16, 2016: New London horseman dies after wagon accident

Jan. 4: Smoke-free ordinance on e-cigarettes begins in Kandiyohi County

Feb. 16: Students help decide name: Lakeland Elementary

March 9: Elementary school construction scaffolding tips in high winds

April 8: The ‘Living Last Supper’ - Drama to be staged Sunday in Benson

April 12: Battle of the badge: First responders bleed for an award

April 22: Rx for resiliency: Rice explores ways to reduce clinician burnout

May 4: Theater refresh: Couple to reopen Montevideo movie house

May 6: Vinyls unveiled: Art will soon decorate Willmar traffic signals

May 18: YME builds a windowless greenhouse

May 31: Historical engine 261 stops in Willmar

June 15:  Finding strength in the storm: Carlson family is optimistic for future of the farm

June 22:  Documentary ‘Warehoused’ tells story of refugees’ journey to Willmar

June 24:  Willmar Destination Playground is officially open

July 1: Blue devils’ rock stars of Swedes Forest Scientific and Natural Area

July 23: Officer-involved shooting reported in Willmar

July 27: Madison-area farmer a pioneer in raising Kernza

Aug. 3: MNYOU youth group’s garden produce for sale at farmers markets

Aug. 12:  Moon shadows to streak across Nebraska

Aug.16: Whiteout front page draws attention to importance of local news

Those are just a few of many local stories covered over the last year in the West Central Tribune. That does not include the hundreds of articles covering the 20 high schools and their athletes our sports section covers throughout the year.

While alternative websites present alternative and fake content, newspapers take their credibility seriously. News stories with reporters reporting facts and editors vetting stories and photos result in accuracy, fairness and coverage as complete as possible. The newsrooms, especially in community newspapers, are filled will people striving to get the story right every day.

Granted, newspapers are not perfect. If we stumble and have a story with an error, we admit it to all our readers, publish an appropriate correction and move on, continuing to pursue the truth and cover our communities as best we can.

Minnesotans are civic-minded and find value in their local newspapers. A 2014 Scarborough readership survey found that 89 percent of Minnesota residents have read a newspaper in print and/or digital form in the past month.

We recognize and treasure the trust and value our readers and our communities put in their local newspaper. Most of all, we thank our readers - in print, on Wctrib.com and in social media - for reading the West Central Tribune.

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