Sarah Stultz: Are you building or killing the community?

Published 10:00 pm Monday, January 29, 2018

Nose for News, By Sarah Stultz

Last week I had the privilege of attending the annual Minnesota Newspaper Association convention with Tribune Publisher Crystal Miller.

It’s a time for newspaper professionals from all over the state to come together to network, learn and share some of our latest and greatest about the business with our colleagues.

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In between learning about issues related to the newspaper industry — such as improving writing skills and ethics in journalism — I was intrigued to sit in on a seminar by Canadian author Doug Griffiths, who wrote “13 Ways to Kill Your Community.”

I have always been a strong believer that it is our responsibility — and our responsibility alone — to make our community a better place. We can’t blame it on a business that decided not to come here or local government leaders or any other myriad of reasons. I walked away from that seminar with that same sentiment — that it is up to us each as individuals. I was motivated to do my part, not only as as a journalist but as a community member.

Through his own life experiences, Griffiths shared the highlights of his book, talking about the importance of things as simple as quality of water, having a good first impression and shopping local. He also talked about how competition leads to better quality, selection, price and service by businesses and the importance of giving our youth a reason to come home.

While these things seemed obvious from first impression, his discussion showed how essential these characteristics are.

A few of the points I was even more interested in were about valuing the people who move to our community, not growing complacent and recognizing the economic driver that seniors can be for our communities.

Without giving it all away, those were a few of the topics that stuck out to me, and I would recommend anyone pick up that book who is looking to build the community.

It got me thinking of the saying, “If you’re not moving forward, you’re moving backward.”

I also thought about how we can’t get stuck in the past — things that once were or that didn’t come to pass. We have to look ahead, ready to take responsibility to make our own community the best it can be.

–So how do we motivate all of our residents to find a way they can build the community? I’d love to encourage you to find a way to better our city and our county and let me know about it. I know there are already many people out there doing great things, but I know we can all do better.

Send me your thoughts and ideas. Together, we can bring great change.

Sarah Stultz is the managing editor of the Tribune. Her column appears every Tuesday.