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Times changing, but mission is the same

Like many other industries, the newspaper business is in a state of change. Many of you no doubt have read about the troubles of big-city papers like the Star Tribune in Mineapolis. And while business remains strong here, the Bemidji Pioneer is not immune to change.

When the ink was rolled onto this page Saturday night, it marked the final run of our Goss Community press that has been in place since 1977. During the past week our press crew has put out 175,000 papers including the Pioneer, its affiliated publications and our commercial customers' jobs.

The 20-plus stand-alone ads that you'll find in today's Pioneer were all inserted by hand over the past week by a crew of mailroom employees who handled upwards of 250,000 pieces.

The Pioneer has a long tradition of quality printing dating back to the newspaper's birth in 1896. Some folks probably remember watching the press run in the Pioneer's building at the corner of 5th and Beltrami in downtown Bemidji. Later the newspaper was printed in the current Eagles building. When the Pioneer and the Advertiser merged in the late 1970s, the newspaper offices and plant moved next door to our current location.

Times -- and technology -- are changing, and that offers some new opportunities. Beginning Monday night, the Pioneer's printing operations will move to the Forum Communications Printing plant in Detroit Lakes.

What won't be changing is our mission to bring news, features, advertising and great photography to our readers. We will continue to produce all of our content in Bemidji. Our news department will be on the streets and at the important meetings. They will be talking to your friends and neighbors, searching for stories of interest. They will be at the local sporting events with cameras and notebooks.

Our marketing consultants will continue to work with advertisers to create successful campaigns that get readers' attention. Our customer service specialists will assist subscribers and classified advertisers with all of their needs.

And our team of independent contractors will make sure the newspaper is delivered in a timely manner.

The Bemidji Pioneer's audience has never been larger, when you combine our print readers with our online users. In fact, we typically have our highest online traffic now on Mondays, the only day we don't have a print edition. Our editors and reporters post up-to-the-minute news updates throughout the day on, and many readers receive word of those updates by e-mail or cell phone. We also recently added a complete package of comics, puzzles and horoscopes to the website.

This weekend, we say goodbye to some dedicated, skilled pressroom and mailroom employees, and we thank them for all they have given us.

Dennis Doeden is publisher of the Bemidji Pioneer.