Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Lois E. Johnson
Moose Lake Star Gazette 

No qualms of joining winning team


It's been one year since I came to work at the Arrowhead Leader on Halloween Day and was told that there would be no more papers printed. It took me a moment to realize that I was out of a job.

I was stunned. I had no idea that things were that bad.

But, in looking back, I could see that the income just wasn't coming in well enough for the business to keep going.

I had been very committed to the Arrowhead Leader for 12 years since I had been asked to come and be the editor. I had been committed during my first stint of working at the Arrowhead Leader the previous 10 years before I had left to concentrate on my studies at UWS.

I felt like the rug had been pulled out from under me. I was numb. I didn't know what I was going to do. Retirement was staring me in the face, and yet, I wasn't ready to retire.

Two days later I called the editor of the Star Gazette to find out if I could have a story published that I had expected would be published in the Arrowhead Leader.

"We just heard, we were going to call you," said Colette Stadin, the editor.

They wanted my story, and she took my phone number and said that she would give it to Tim Franklin, the owner and publisher. He would call me later.

As it turned out, the Arrowhead Leader had paid me for the story that hadn't been published so the newspaper owned it. I couldn't get it published anywhere else.

Tim called me and we talked.

He invited me to join the Star Gazette team that day, and I agreed.

I haven't been sorry in the 12 months that have passed. In fact, I am still amazed at how fast my loyalties changed.

The Arrowhead Leader was started by Ruth Hanson, the editor at the Star Gazette, after a new owner from out of state had bought the paper and fired her.

People asked how a small town could support two newspapers. But it did, for 30 years.

Ruth's newspaper had a different personality than the Star Gazette, and people liked what they read on its pages.

Ruth's family continued the Arrowhead Leader after her death, and after the death of Skip, her son and co-owner. And it continued after the death of Carl, her husband, years later.

It was purchased by one of the employees just months before its demise.

In thinking about the whole situation, I have seen that there is only room for one newspaper in Moose Lake. And the Star Gazette, with the revenue from the Evergreen shopper, was stronger.

The purchase of the Star Gazette by Tim Franklin was the shining light for the newspaper business in Moose Lake. The Star Gazette had been struggling for years. People said that the only reason that it survived was because of the income from the Evergreen shopper.

Several people had stepped in to report the local news, and the quality of the Star Gazette improved.

The quality of the Star Gazette grew by leaps and bounds once Tim Franklin bought it and started to make changes. It was published in color on the front and back pages, something that the Arrowhead Leader had done several years before.

With continued changes the quality of the Star Gazette changed greatly.

I had noticed those changes and had no qualms of joining a winning team. It was a complete turnaround in my thinking.

In the year since I joined the team, I have been pleased that I have been able to continue to bring the local news to you, the readers. But I haven't had to do it alone.

The Star Gazette has other staff members and freelance writers that cover some of the meetings and events that I used to cover for the Arrowhead Leader. My schedule has been shortened, for which I am grateful, especially when I no longer have to go out to cover meetings as often on cold winter evenings. And I am no longer responsible for finding three stories for the front page each week.

And yet, the workload of covering feature stories has increased. I enjoy interviewing people, finding out about their lives or events, and passing the information along to you readers.

Even though I am working for a different employer, my relationships with the people that I have dealt with in the past is still valuable when I need to call or talk to someone to get information for a story.

To top it all off, Tim Franklin bought the former Arrowhead Leader building and remodeled it for its new role, something that it had needed for all the years that the Arrowhead Leader had occupied that building.

It's been a great year. I have many fond memories of the days and the people that I used to work with at the Arrowhead Leader.

But I am making new memories with the great staff and assignments at the Star Gazette. I am looking forward to more great years of bringing the local news to you, the readers.


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