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Pick up a paper, because you never know what you'll find

I will never forget how astounded I was, when one of my neighbors told me she didn't read newspapers anymore, because it made her angry when she didn't agree with them. Instead, she told me proudly, she got all her news from the Internet, from we...

I will never forget how astounded I was, when one of my neighbors told me she didn't read newspapers anymore, because it made her angry when she didn't agree with them. Instead, she told me proudly, she got all her news from the Internet, from websites that agreed with her own politics.

The Internet is certainly a great place to find all kinds of information quickly. There's nothing better when you're trying to figure out if Walter Mondale is still living (yes), a great recipe for coleslaw (I like it with pineapple) or the history and science of bio-cremation.

The best thing about a printed issue of the newspaper is all the information you find that you didn't even know you were looking for.

I am not a big sports fan. I wander through the living room when a game is on the TV. I attend local games on occasion, mostly as a night out for the family. I never look on the Internet for sports results. However, hand me the printed issue of a newspaper, and odds are good I will read at least one sports story.

I say "printed" because the Internet version of a newspaper is often used the same way as the web itself, to answer a specific question. Public policy geeks go straight to the city council meeting story, the legislative section, the school board minutes. Sports fanatics read about last night's game, without even clicking on the news or opinion tabs.

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Pick up a newspaper, however, and you have to physically turn the pages. Unless you do that with your eyes closed, you will see things you weren't expecting.

Isn't it interesting that politics in the United States is more polarized than ever, even though we have this tremendous source of information at our fingertips?

As circulation numbers to newspapers have fallen, so has our sense of community. When people get upset about issues, they ask why no one told them. Next time someone asks that, ask if they subscribe to their local paper.

Granted, most newspapers aren't terribly sexy. You will see few scandals and even fewer bikinis. But community newspapers like the Pine Journal are packed with information you will not find anywhere else.

Our reporters regularly attend and write about public meetings where elected officials make decisions on issues and spending that affect our community. It's not always controversial - which are the only meetings other regional media cover - but we cover it anyway, because it matters. There is news about accidents, fires, weddings, engagements, deaths and in-depth features on many of the amazing people who live in this county. We write about upcoming events, so you know what's going on at Home for the Holidays and the July Fourth celebrations before they arrive. We cover sports at every school in Carlton County with photos and stories and weekly roundups. We carry legal notices for many of the county's cities, townships and schools, in addition to other legally required advertisements ranging from foreclosure notices to name changes.

The beauty of a community newspaper is that it is not tailored to your own personal tastes. An article may make you laugh or infuriate you. Hopefully, it makes you think. Maybe it even inspires a search for more information on the Internet. That's what it's good for. But people - those who care about their community, their neighbors - need more than the world wide web.

Pick up a paper, because you never know what you will find.

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