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Matt Cory: There’s much to look forward to in 2014

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The Christmas and New Year’s holidays are always a time for reflection — on the year past, on work, on family and friends and those things we hold dear — and a time for anticipation as a new year looks back at us in the mirror.

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Here at the Pioneer, we look back at 2013 as a year filled with comings and goings, of strong stories and images that helped inform our newspaper and online readers about, well, the comings and goings around Bemidji. Some of those events are documented on the cover of Section B in today’s newspaper — some of our best photographs from our own Monte Draper.

We’ve tried to bring home the relevance of issues to our readers — whether it was the ongoing annexation dispute or helping to shine a light on the problem of homelessness in the community. We’ve said goodbye to colleagues and welcomed new co-workers here at the Pioneer, and our sister publication, The American, which serves readers in Blackduck, Kelliher and Northome.

We also had a debut in 2013, as our new lifestyle publication — in magazine — hit the newsstands just this month.

But reflecting on the past is not near as exciting as looking toward the future. That’s no different for us here at the Pioneer. We look forward to another strong year in 2014, and we’ve already taken steps to ensure that for you, our readers.

Since coming to the community in spring, I’ve often commented to friends on how vibrant the arts and entertainment scene is here in Bemidji and the surrounding communities. To that end, we plan to showcase the arts even more in 2014. Starting Jan. 5, our Expressions page that normally runs on Thursdays now will appear on the Sunday Section B cover. This allows us to highlight local arts and entertainment news and give it a bigger “splash” to use the newspaper parlance. And while we always want to feature local happenings, this new format also allows us to take a longer look at regional and national/international arts and entertainment news.

Readers already may have noticed a change to our daily weather report. We changed it to better reflect local conditions, and the extended forecast is more useful as you plan your days ahead.

One of our most popular pages also is getting a facelift in the coming weeks. Our Comics page will still include all your favorite “funnies” (another newspaper parlance), as well as the nightly television schedule. Today’s birthdays will be included in the daily World Almanac listing, but we’re most excited about adding a daily trivia question for readers. The questions will be on a variety of topics, including local news, and we think readers will find them an entertaining and informative addition to their daily reading.

The Pioneer, and its parent company, Forum Communications Co., have long enjoyed successful partnerships with various news outlets. This will continue in 2014. Readers will see content, both in print and online, from various Forum company properties, as well as from Minnesota Public Radio. But new to us are the addition of the world-renowned Reuters News Service, as well as a working relationship with the St. Paul Pioneer Press. This allows us to gather the most relevant and important stories of the day, in the region and around the world, and deliver it here in Bemidji, in print and online.

Another change we know readers will welcome is on its way, as well. We are returning to running a listing of services for local and area funerals. Readers may recall this was discontinued several years ago as we changed how we handled obituaries in the Pioneer. We heard readers really missed this useful feature and we are bringing it back starting later this week.

With these changes, and there may be more on the horizon, we feel we are well-positioned to deliver the most timely, relevant and useful information to our readers.

And we are always, always open to suggestions. I welcome any comments, and criticisms to boot, on how we are telling your stories. So, please drop me a note at mcory@bemidjipioneer.com or call at (218) 333-9774.

Matt Cory is editor of the Bemidji Pioneer.

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