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Northland journalism community saddened by struggling DNT

Emily Ness
Updated: May 27, 2020 11:07 PM

Journalists turn the times we are living in into pages to be turned by people living through those experiences. But, financial hardship surrounding COVID-19 has taken a toll on the Northland’s fourth estate.

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Soon, the Duluth News Tribune will be delivered by mail rather than carrier and will come two days a week rather than seven. This historic announcement was made by Executive Editor, Rick Lubbers in a column on Wednesday.

According to Lubbers, these cut backs are the result of a decline in advertising and subscriptions. Due to the cut backs, the News Tribune’s independent carrier force will be eliminated, including some some employees in the circulation department. These changes will go into effect in early July.

Dr. Jennifer Moore, Associate Professor of Journalism at the University of Minnesota Duluth began her career as a journalist and now teaches students about the history and community of journalism. She said she will miss receiving a newspaper every day.

"We can’t function without a newspaper. The reporters are doing the private work that we don’t have time to do as citizens,” Moore said. "What we need to know in order to make decisions about how to vote, what things we need to pay attention to in terms of the city council. They attend the city council meetings, they attend the school board meetings. They are holding people in power that run our city accountable and they are doing the interviewing. They are finding the stories that are important."

Moore said that she appreciates all of the work that goes into the newspaper and although she never knew her newspaper carrier personally, she valued the time and effort he put into delivering her paper every day.

"I’ve never met him, but I know he’s doing his job because I see the results of his work on my doorstep every morning,” Moore said. "I can’t tell you how many times I’d wake up after a snowstorm thinking: ‘Oh, I bet we didn’t get our newspaper,’ but it would be there and you know, I would leave him notes from time to time or just an extra tip for getting us the newspaper after we’d had like a foot or two of snow the night before or an ice storm.”

Dr. Cindy Rugeley, Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Minnesota Duluth also began her career as a journalist. She too, discussed the void not receiving a newspaper would have.

"I think that people really, really do undervalue local journalism and I think this is just another further sign of it,” Rugeley said. "Local news is important and I hope that whatever delivery mechanism, that we continue to have good local news and good journalism. The journalists are professionals. They’re trained, they have standards, a code of ethics. They’re professionals and they’re the people you should turn to for news."

During these changing times, Dr. Moore and Dr. Rugeley said it is still important to support local media.

"I know that journalists probably feel a little bit beat up right now and that’s understandable, but I mean, the work you do is very important,” Rugeley said. "I’m a big advocate of: 'Buy your local newspaper, watch your local news.' I mean, your time between 10 and 10:30 at night is spent pretty well watching the news. You know, when you buy a newspaper, that’s money well spent."

The Duluth News Tribune said they will continue reporting seven days a week and will have updates to their website daily.

Credits

Emily Ness

Copyright 2020 WDIO-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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