Editorial: How is Tribune supporting a healthy community?

Published 9:25 pm Tuesday, October 10, 2017

We at the Tribune like to take a step back every once in a while and see how the newspaper is doing to encourage Albert Lea to be a healthy community — not only physically healthy but in other dimensions as well.

Since the leaders of our newspaper attended an Editors and Publishers Community Leadership Program in 2015, we have aimed to focus our coverage on the Nine Dimensions of a Healthy Community as established by the Blandin Foundation, a private foundation that aims to strengthen rural Minnesota communities. In our role as a rural newspaper, we have learned the value of how we recognize and frame our community issues and how our newspaper can be leaders.

The nine dimensions, the cornerstone of the Blandin Community Leadership Program, are the following: inclusion, community leadership, lifelong learning, recreation and artistic opportunity, spirituality and wellness, economic opportunity, environmental stewardship, safety and security, and infrastructure and services.

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Inclusion explores residents with different backgrounds and perspectives and how the community is welcoming them.

Community leadership covers the various leaders, whether in local government, businesses, churches or other means.

Lifelong learning begins as an infant and continues well into a person’s older years — whether that’s at home, through public schools, private schools, community education or other programs.

Recreation and artistic opportunity covers a variety of opportunities: both structured and unstructured sporting events, as well as theater and the arts.

Spirituality and wellness delves into a person’s well-being — spiritual, emotional and physical.

Economic opportunity covers businesses, entrepreneurs and possible developers in the community, while environmental stewardship covers our natural resources such as our lakes and land.

Safety and security looks at things such as our police and fire departments, and infrastructure and services covers things such as roads, bridges and even the amenity of internet.

To help promote a healthy community as a newspaper, our publication would have a balance of these dimensions.

We plan to have a series of editorials looking deeper into these elements and how we, as a newspaper, simply by what stories we focus on, can support a healthy community.