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Pine Journal office to close

Pine Journal staff, former staff and loyal readers gathered outside the Pine Journal to say goodbye to longtime publisher Wendy Johnson in April 2015 upon the occasion of her retirement. Although the Pine Journal is closing its office at 122 Avenue C on Jan. 19, the paper will still be published each week and cover the same sports and news as it always has. Pine Journal file photo

With the creation of a regional newsroom and a larger reporting pool as goals, Publisher Neal Ronquist has announced that the Pine Journal’s office in Cloquet will close permanently Friday, Jan. 19, at 4 p.m.

Ronquist emphasized that all of the Pine Journal’s employees will continue publishing the weekly newspaper with news and sports stories from Cloquet and elsewhere in Carlton County — and that readers will not experience any changes or interruptions to their paper or its delivery.

“This closing continues our long-term strategy to consolidate the many units of our group into one team, operating out of one location,” Ronquist told Pine Journal employees recently. “This strategy reflects our position as a regional media company and not separate community operations. It also continues the strategy of directing our resources to content generation and sales, and away from bricks-and-mortar assets. The Lake County News-Chronicle closed its office in October, but we have continued to publish that paper with the same local focus.”

Pine Journal reporters Jana Peterson and Jamie Lund, as well as advertising representatives Scott Blatchford, Barb Into and Julie Schulz, will be based out of the Duluth News Tribune office, but will also work remotely from Cloquet and elsewhere in Carlton County.

“Jana and Jamie both live and work in the Cloquet/Carlton County community, and this move will not change how they approach news coverage,” said Rick Lubbers, Duluth News Tribune editor. “They will still cover city council, county board, breaking news and other happenings that are important to our readers. They will still be engaged in the Carlton County communities and make themselves available to readers, such as setting up community coffee hours. Just as it did for our Lake County News-Chronicle reporters, the one-newsroom approach to newsgathering will give Jana and Jamie better backing from our overall newsroom.

“Our commitment to the Pine Journal and its readers remains steadfast through this change.”

Ronquist agrees.

“We remain committed to serving the readers of Cloquet and Carlton Country through the continued publishing of the Pine Journal and the Northland Smart Shopper,” Ronquist said. “As we continue to deploy, and refine, our one-team strategy, we will employ more reporting resources and more sales resources in the Cloquet area.”

Ronquist noted that other media companies such as TV and radio stations operate from one main base and not multiple locations, focusing on their content and not the location of their headquarters.

“Our business is content generation and business partnerships. We're not a destination business. We deliver our products to front doors and devices,” Ronquist said. “I believe our readers are more interested in receiving quality products, and having us active in the community, and less concerned about where our employees’ office is and how they operate.”

The Pine Journal can be purchased at many locations in Cloquet and Carlton County, and be found online at