A hometown newspaper with a local office, local owners & lots of local news

FROM THE EDITOR: Out of many, one community paper

When we started the Pine Knot News four years ago next week, people in the newspaper industry noticed. It was mostly shock — who was crazy enough to start a brand-new paper? — mixed in with hope.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune sent a photographer and a reporter to our office in Cloquet. Minnesota Public Radio called, so did Business North and Fox 21 in Duluth. The industry’s Editor & Publisher magazine even wrote a short story with a photo.

I can confidently say we weren’t delusional. After the Pine Journal closed its office here and moved to Duluth, we believed that Cloquet and Carlton County needed to have a solidly local newspaper that actually cared enough to have an office here. We wanted to become a place people could drop in and find us in person.

We had a good base of people to get us started. Five of us chipped in money to make it happen. Our brave and experienced employees — including Rose Chu, Ivan Hohnstadt, Mike Creger and Deb Zime — took a leap of faith. Local sports expert Kerry Rodd offered his services. Peggy Day added design skills. I met our current delivery driver, Joe French, at the Scanlon Kwik Trip (where he was buying one of our earliest editions of the Pine Knot News). We continue to grow, recently adding veteran journalist Brady Slater to the fold. Full disclosure, he is my husband, and remains the best editor I’ve ever worked with.

There’s no doubt the passion and dedication of our employees is the largest part of our success, but we have a secret sauce that makes the Pine Knot News really special: our local contributors and freelancers.

They are people who largely don’t have newspaper backgrounds, but they have something to say, stories they want to tell or great photos, and a desire to make their community a better place. Steve Korby, with his stories of people who live or grew up around here and their various adventures. Parnell Thill — whom a judge once compared to Hemingway — with his unique writing style and takes on life. Mothy Soden-Groves, who said, “Why not write?” after he retired. The talented Francy Chammings, Greg Oakes, Tom Urbanski, Dan Reed, Annie Dugan, Jennie Hanson, Rebekah King, Leola Rodd, and many more. Photographers Dan Saletel, Dave Harwig, Amber Nichols, Matthew Moses, Dan Malkovich, Mike Farmer, John Dahlburg, AJ Miller, Mark Cline plus all those folks sending in fall color pics right now.

Readers call with story ideas or feedback, which we love, be it positive or negative. They stop in at the office, share information, photos, stories they’ve written or just a desire to chat. People send tips via text, email and Facebook messenger. Advertisers have been wonderful. And the news never slows down.

Like our country’s motto “e pluribus unum” says: Out of many, one. One great paper.

If you’re not already a subscriber, we hope you enjoy this week’s free paper and do your homework in advance of the elections. And consider subscribing. We’d love to have your support, and we think you will enjoy knowing more about your community each and every week.

Pine Knot News editor Jana Peterson has been covering Carlton County close to a dozen years. Contact her at 218-213-1231 or [email protected].

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