Driftless Journal set to premiere in December

For those of you who may live in a cave, with no access to the Internet or any other form of “human” contact, or for those who just don’t care to read (and that number is alarming these days), Decorah Newspapers will be undergoing a major change in December.

And we couldn’t be any more excited about it. We hope our readers are as well.

After decades, if not centuries, of publishing the Decorah Public Opinion on Tuesdays and the Decorah Journal on Thursdays, beginning Dec. 1 we will publish a new “tabloid” size weekly newspaper called the Driftless Journal that will be mailed to every address in Winneshiek County and the communities of Mabel, Spring Grove, Canton and Harmony in southern Minnesota every Thursday (a circulation of more than 13,000). And here’s the best part: IT’S ABSOLUTELY FREE. No subscription required.

In addition, the Decorah Public Opinion newspaper will still be mailed to subscribers each and every Tuesday. It’s also important to note these subscribers will receive a copy of the Driftless Journal.

Times change and small, local newspapers have been forced to adapt accordingly to the ever-evolving trends in news dissemination. We look forward to continuing to provide the readers of Winneshiek County and southern Minnesota with a comprehensive news and advertising source they can count on.

Decorah Newspapers has taken a great deal of pride in being Decorah AND Winneshiek County’s No. 1 source for news and advertising -with accuracy and reliability. We’ve worked extremely hard at being a source you can trust for fairness and objectivity.

Why the change? Because the reality of the times and financial considerations demand it. The competition to be a legitimate news and advertising publication the residents of this area can rely on has gotten to the point where we either adapt and restructure our product(s) accordingly, or suffer the inevitable consequences.

The simple fact is this: the majority of people just don’t read newspapers like they once did, and they are rather hesitant to pay for it. Thus, the Driftless Journal will be distributed to every address in the county and southern Minnesota at no cost to the reader.

A long-time subscriber and former sports editor summed it up this way: “I keep checking the (newspaper) website and saw the change with the free tabloid replacing the Thursday paper. That’s a good thing, right, to get you guys in front of more eyeballs? Tough to tell these days. Hopefully even a little change will get people energized and talking about you and the work you guys do.”

Another loyal reader, a person I respect a great deal, said it this way: “(this change should be) good for all of Decorah I would believe ... I am aware of the many who do not READ anything and especially papers ... we are becoming a very uninformed people and it scares me.”

It scares us, too, and we don’t see that trend changing in the near future. Not only aren’t people reading the facts as compiled by professional journalists, they really don’t care if the “news source” they rely on is accurate and fair –which is the whole point of competent journalism.

Unbelievable, but true. Hard-working journalists who have played such a significant role in protecting America’s freedoms and standard of fairness, must be spinning in their graves at how this horrific phenomenon has evolved –or perhaps, de-volved would be better.

So be it. Regardless of the circumstances or reasons, the truth of change is real, and it’s absolutely imperative we either change along with it, or die trying.

How can we offer such a bargain and remain in business? Hopefully, through increased advertising. After all, offering complete saturation coverage of this entire area should be attractive for all businesses trying to get their message out to the people.

We hope so. Decorah City Council’s community betterment committee is recommending a revised flag policy that will be brought to the full Council at a meeting in the near future, according to committee chair Johanna Bergan.

These revisions will include removal of the policy’s special interest flag section and the application process to request to fly flags on Water Street streetlights, she said. The policy will further clarify the flags that the city will fly (in a similar manner to the city’s previous policy) which will include: the American flag, Decorah High School flag, Luther College flag, Scandinavian/National flags, and the Pride flag.

During a recent committee meeting on the topic, Bergan said discussion points included the desire of multiple Council members to celebrate Pride and the city’s LGBTQ community and the amount of staff and Council time spent in discussion on flags to date.

I’ve got another idea. Considering the deteriorating condition of the city’s streets (potholes, cracked paving, etc.) why not have the repairs paid for by flag enthusiasts? Just charge an outlandish price ($50,000?) for the right to fly their respective flags for four days (Thursday through Sunday) and see what happens.

To be sure, the city would retain the right to deny that flag-flying right to any banner that was deemed overly discriminatory or slanderous … period. But it could have the effect of creating enough additional revenue to help solve our street problems and possibly appease all the flag wavers.

With tongue firmly planted in cheek.