You can’t live without Sun Thisweek
by Tad Johnson
Is there someone in your life who is always there when you need him or her?
It’s the person who listens to your concerns, offers good advice, and has the answers to tough questions.
I like to think of this newspaper as that mom, dad, sister, brother, friend or neighbor you can call on for nearly any reason.
Today your sounding board, counseling office and information desk just got a whole lot better.
This first edition of Sun Thisweek has merged the resources, knowledge and talents of both ECM Publishers and Sun Media Group to roll out a new look, expanded coverage and a strong commitment to be there when you need us – in print or online.
Loyal readers view the best media as essential in their lives; something they can’t live without.
We listen to readers concerns through letters to the editor and online comments attached to our stories and on our Facebook page.
We offer advice – with attribution – from the experts in our communities.
We print lots of answers to questions, ranging from softball (even the sporting kind) to hardball. Whether the answers are the right ones depends on your perspective. And if you disagree with those answers, remember we are your proverbial soapbox, too.
If you haven’t ever considered how our newspaper and website can be essential, think of the information we disseminate about the things in your life – food, water, air, a place to live, a car to drive, clothes to wear, family, friends and community.
We write stories about healthy eating, water quality, pollution, new roads and housing developments, in addition to carrying ads for restaurants, car dealers and places to shop.
While we carry plenty of information about those “essentials,” we specialize in the “people” part of that list.
It’s the part of our work that can best differentiate ourselves in a highly competitive media market and it’s the most satisfying for us and our readers.
For the past combined 198 years, Sun, Thisweek and our sister publication, the Dakota County Tribune, have told the stories of countless people that never would have been written had it not been for a curious reporter with the desire to write the story.
We’ve told you about paraplegic artists, cancer survivors, child prodigies, energetic 100-year-olds, life-saving rescue workers and volunteers who give selflessly of themselves for so many causes.
Today we are telling you about the challenges facing returning veterans as they seek employment in a very tight job market.
We know these are the stories that matter when ticket sales for local arts programs take off after those programs are featured in Thisweekend.
We know these stories matter when readers start a fund to pay for surgery for a man injured while breaking up a domestic dispute after we reported he would have been permanently disabled without medical treatment.
We know these stories matter when we get a call from someone at a suicide hotline who says a depressed teen just called them after reading their phone number in our story about the topic.
Unlike a famous New York Jets quarterback, I never make guarantees, but it is my sincere hope that the momentum we have summoned by creating this new newspaper will result in a greater capacity to tell more of these kinds of stories. In the coming weeks, we plan to take a look at the problem of and solutions to teen drug abuse, the high cost of youth sports participation, commuting gridlock and much more.
While you are enjoying the new look of Sun Thisweek newspaper, I hope you will notice the increased news, sports and arts coverage.
And as you are sitting at your computer, cruise on over to the new SunThisweek.com and check out the reorganized menu of choices. We hope you like our additions of Must-Read and featured stories and that you browse the site a bit using are new related-content widget.
Remember all of that content you are reading and viewing comes from an editorial staff with over 100 years of combined experience covering Dakota County.
We wouldn’t have been here this long and invested so much in merging Sun Thisweek if we didn’t think the people of Apple Valley, Burnsville, Eagan, Farmington, Lakeville and Rosemount deserved to have their stories told.
We hope you feel the same way.
Tad Johnson is managing editor of Sun Thisweek and the Dakota County Tribune. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or facebook.com/sunthisweek.