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Welcome to town, dear little family. Thank you for subscribing to the paper

On Second Thought
Lead Summary
Lori Sorenson, editor

A young family stopped in the Star Herald office just after Christmas to inquire about a subscription to the newspaper.
The newsroom was busy sending pages to press, so I didn’t greet them at the counter, as much as I would have liked to.
From across the room, I could hear our front office staff take down their address and subscription information while small talk unfolded.
“So, you’re new to town?”
“Yes. We just moved here.”
“Are your kids in school here?”  The young ones had accompanied their parents on the errand and were milling around the front door.
“They’ll start here after the Christmas break.”
More small talk, more questions, and then the kicker:
“We wanted to get the paper right away to learn about the community.”
They were strangers, but I felt like leaping over the counter to hug them.
We’re aware we have loyal readers, and we’re grateful for each and every subscription, online and in print.
But our fan list is getting shorter and Facebook is an easier (and cheaper) alternative source of information.
I’m on Facebook, and as a news person I use the platform to discover upcoming events, a new business, or other newsworthy tips to track down for a Star Herald story.
It’s a great little tool, but it’s a little thin on substance, considering I never see any of my Facebook “friends” at a public meeting where our elected officials make decisions about how to spend our hard-earned tax dollars.
Somehow, this little family understands the value of professional journalism (facts versus coffee talk — or Facebook chatter).
I can name many lifelong Rock County residents who don’t read the Star Herald. They’re educated, involved, sincere and generous — but not very informed.
They appreciate the community they live in, but don’t know much about it.
They still don’t understand Hot Dog Night or Buffalo Chip Throwing Contests.
Or the appeal of 4,000 nutcrackers. (The collection each year brings thousands of people into town where they spend their money at local businesses.)
After numerous front-page Star Herald headlines about a looming construction project, these same well-meaning folks ask, “What are they building on the old Sharkee’s lot?” (It’s a years-in-the-making, multi-million dollar, three-story, 54-unit, green-built, market-rate apartment complex that will put a big dent in Luverne’s housing shortage.)
It was a short visit the day our new residents stopped in the Star Herald office, but they made my day.
I wanted to hug them …
For getting it.
For getting a subscription.
And for restoring my faith in humanity (and my hope for the future of small-town journalism).
Welcome to Rock County, dear little new family in town.
We hope you like us, and we hope the Star Herald lives up to your expectations as the best way to connect with your new community.

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