Sarah Stultz: Newspapers are critical for keeping history

Published 8:45 pm Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Nose for News by Sarah Stultz

I went to an interview the other day for our next issue of Albert Lea Magazine.

Without giving away fully who the story will be about, I’ll tell you that I interviewed a couple with a historic house, who has worked in the last five or six years to renovate it, bringing in lots of history while also incorporating their personalities.

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During our conversation, we talked about how important it was for them to know the history of their house and who had lived there.

In addition to using some books about Freeborn County history that contained information about the home’s original owners, the wife — a lover of history — told me she found out much about the owners and the family through happenings in the newspaper.

I couldn’t help but listen with a smile on my face as she told me about events she read about in the paper that they had hosted at the house and other tidbits and photos she found out about the father’s business.

It is amazing to think of all the details from people’s lives that were printed in the newspaper at that time — some 125 years ago.

As we talked, I realized this woman recognized the important role newspapers had in documenting history way back then as well as the importance they continue to have today in doing the same thing.

Without these newspapers, she would not have been able to fit together all the pieces of the puzzle of her home’s original owners.

It was fitting I had this conversation on what was the first day of National Newspaper Week, a week set aside to celebrate the role of newspapers and emphasize the importance of community news and the people who bring that news to the community.

Today I went on to think about some of the history I have covered since coming to Albert Lea — everything from important elections to major weather events to businesses that have opened or closed their doors. There’s been projects that have changed the course of the community like the downtown streetscape, the grassroots movement of the Albert Lea Healthcare Coalition, and the list could go on and on.

Though how we document this history has evolved even in the time that I have been in the industry, the newspaper’s role has never been more important.

I am proud to be a part of the ongoing legacy that newspapers provide, and I am grateful for those of you who share your stories.

Don’t forget about the resource that is here, and if you need to look up something from our archives, remember that our archives can be found through the Freeborn County Historical Museum.

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