PIONEER PERSPECTIVES: Introducing our newest reporters

We are mindful that turnover in newsrooms means a period of transition for not only us but our readers too. However, it does mean we have a fresh team of reporters who are ready to hit the ground running. (Or should I say recording?)

Jillian Gandsey headshot.jpg

So you’ve read a lot of farewell columns from Pioneer reporters lately.

And while we are mindful that turnover in newsrooms means a period of transition for not only us but our readers, too, it also means we have a fresh team of reporters who are ready to hit the ground running. (Or should I say recording?)

Madelyn Haasken joined the Pioneer’s newsroom in June after Hannah LaVigne move to Rochester in May . The Bemidji State grad manages an abundance of news briefs, upcoming events, staff reports and more. She juggles one of those positions that requires a ton of tedious writing and thorough organization.

Madelyn’s even had a few bylines, covering the Flag Day event, Kelliher’s Big Bog Festival, the Bemidji Sings! competition and more. Basically, if you see “Pioneer Staff Report” listed as an author, it was most likely Madelyn’s work behind the scenes.

Bemidji State alum Daltyn Lofstrom has also come aboard within the past week filling the gap recently left by Hannah Olson . Daltyn will cover a range of beats for the Pioneer, but primarily he will focus on education, especially with Bemidji Area Schools’ upcoming referendum this fall.


During his first week on the job, he covered events such as the National Night Out event held on Tuesday and Sanford Health's annual Taco Fest on Wednesday that coincides with the annual Lake Bemidji Dragon Boat Festival.

In mid-August, our sports department will also have a new face: recent Arizona State graduate Christian Babcock will join the ranks as a sports reporter. Another transition within the sports department took place in July when Micah Friez moved from sports reporter to sports editor after Austin Monteith moved back home to Illinois. Together Christian and Micah will tackle the array of athletic talent at Bemidji High School, Bemidji State and beyond.

We will certainly miss those reporters who have moved on. They brought with them a wealth of talent and I’m happy to know Bemidji will always be part of their stories. Most moved to be closer to family, which, after a pandemic, who can blame them? Going without seeing our long-distance loved ones for months, or in some cases more than a year, is tough.

Every journalist I’ve had the pleasure of working with here at the Pioneer has cared a great deal about this community. Whether they were here for one year or 30, each has added their own flair to covering local topics and diving deep into the issues we all care about.

I’ve worked at the Pioneer for eight years, and a lot has changed over that time. I’ve seen folks come and go, but their passion for community and elevating voices within this community has always been there. It still is.

If there are any topics -- no matter how big or small -- that you want to learn more about, please let us know. It’s our job to inform you and to keep you in the loop. We’re driven by community interest, which means we love hearing what stories, photos or videos our readers enjoyed and also what they’d like to see moving forward.

Feel free to reach out to our new additions, welcome them and let them know what you’d like to read about. Contact information for each person in our newsroom can be found on the contact page on our website,

As always, thanks for reading.


Jillian Gandsey is the multimedia editor at the Pioneer. Readers can reach her at (218) 333-9786 or at .

Jillian Gandsey is the Multimedia Editor at the Bemidji Pioneer. She is an Iron Range native and a 2013 graduate of Bemidji State University. Follow Jillian on Twitter and Instagram @jilliangandsey. Contact her at (218) 333-9786, (218) 996-1216 or at
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