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Crookston Times - Crookston, MN
  • Do you cover your ears and scream 'lalalalaIcan'thearyou!' too?

  • The local newspaper has written at least a dozen stories since 2010 referencing city's desire to move campground to Castle Park.
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  •     Ignorant" isn't one of those words you want to toss about lightly. If you call someone ignorant, it seems as though you're going a bit beyond simply saying that they're uninformed or uneducated on a given subject.
        Maybe it's the make-up of the word itself. The hard "g" consonant sound that crosses the lips early on in the three-syllable word makes it possible to not just say the word, but kind of spit it out as you accuse someone of being particularly unenlightened.
        The harsh potential for the word might be why someone long ago felt the need to insert the adjective "blissful" in front of it. Blissful is by nature a happy word that conjures up joyous images in the mind. If you're blissful, you're dancing and prancing in a sun-drenched meadow. Even if you add "ignorant" to blissful, you still might be dancing and prancing in that sunny meadow, but then you dance and prance up to a nest full of swarming, raging hornets and smash it with a baseball bat because you're not sure what's going to happen next.
        I've spoken to a lot of groups of young people over the years about careers in journalism and communications, and on many of those occasions I'll start out with a quick and informal oral quiz of the young audience that touches on a handful of the major current events of the given day, from a global scale all the way down to that day’s small-town headlines.
        Over the years, I've had students raise their hands and/or blurt out answers to just about every question I've asked, and I know that if they really want to work in the communications and journalism fields, they're going to do just fine. It's the students that sit there with blank looks on their faces that I figure probably signed up for the wrong career session and are simply delighted to be anywhere but in school that day.
        That's because, in this field, if your job is to disseminate information to the masses, then you'd better first be interested in absorbing information. I like to say you need to know a thing or two about a thing or two. If you're not interested in knowing what's going on in the world around you, and you're not interested in asking questions in the hope of learning a little more about that world, then pursuing a career in a field that wouldn't exist without information being gathered and dispersed probably isn't your best bet.
        I know...I chose this field. Many others don’t for countless valid reasons. I certainly don’t know how to sell insurance, after all.
    Page 2 of 3 -     But, still, it gets so frustrating...
        I remember last year, when funding for the swimming pool was discussed at a public meeting within a larger context of the future of the facility in general, so many people claiming to be blindsided by the reality that, if they voted yes on the pool-related ballot question, almost half of the $165,000 in annual revenue that would result would go toward the school district's annual share of the pool's budget deficit, split each year with the City of Crookston. The rest of the annual revenue boost would be invested in projects that would improve the facility.
        I sat there in the back row, pecking away at my laptop as exasperated people spoke about voting yes because they thought all the money would be spent on pool improvements, when what I really wanted to do was pull out the four hairs remaining on my head and yell, "Are you kidding!?"
        I marched back to the Times newsroom so I could search my computer files for previous references in stories and editorials I'd written to how the additional pool revenue would be spent. A long list unfolded on my screen before my eyes, reinforcing my contention that I'd written numerous times about how the additional pool money would be spent if a majority of district voters voted yes on the pool question.
        But too few people cared enough to read those stories, apparently. It’s great that they’re passionate about the pool, but...give me a break. Did they simply overlook the stories? Do they think their local newspaper is a joke? Inquiring minds want to know.
        It happened again in the city hall council chambers last week, as opponents of putting an RV park in Castle Park talked of "hearing nothing" until a couple weeks ago about the possible relocation of the city's main campground from flood-prone Central Park downtown to Castle Park, in Sampson's Addition. They're upset now and their grassroots opposition and enthusiasm they've generated have been mighty impressive.
        But that doesn't change the fact that at least a dozen stories in the Times written by yours truly dating back to 2010 specifically mention the city’s desire and/or plan to eventually move its primary campground from Central Park to Castle Park. Those stories don’t include columns and editorials that touched on the subject, nor do they include the many stories written about the issue over the past few weeks.
        Ignorance is bliss? No, it’s aggravating. And, in a town that’s home to the smallest daily newspaper in the state and a radio station that each keep a pretty close eye on things, it’s unnecessary, too.
    Page 3 of 3 -

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