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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

When everyone zigs, keep on zagging

The Highland Villager is one of the most influential news sources in Saint Paul. The paper has reporters who actually go to community meetings, city council hearings, and district council events. They cover Highland Park in a way that harkens back to the days of stronger daily newspapers.

Yet you can’t get the stories on your Blackberry, Google News, or any other on-line resource. The paper has made the decision to keep its print-only focus until there is a viable business model for on-line publications. This approach ensures that people who buy ads actually know that people see the ads in the printed form. It also frustrates webophiles who want all things on-line all of the time.

So much so that someone has decided to create a blog that lists stories from the most recent issue of the Villager.

While hands continue to wring with news about the two daily papers losing readers, cutting staffs, and stretching budgets, the Highland Villager continues to be a strong, active news source. Jane McClure, a veteran reporter, continues to cover her many beats while daily newsroom counterparts continue to change.

Can the Villager stay this way? There are a few other papers in the country that are not on-line. The Villager is fortunate to cover an area that craves information and has far more than its share of resident community activists. But at a time when the STRIB is badly trying to emulate television in the form of video newscasts, here’s an example of a newspaper trying to actually be a newspaper.