“Good Morning!”

“Good Morning!”
The first Stillwater Lokal Life newspaper

The daffodils came first, then the greening grass, then the wind and warming weather. Festivals, school plays and proms followed. We even had two chicks that hatched at our place the other day. And rounding out this springtime of new arrivals is Stillwater Lokal Life, which has become a reality today, Friday April 26, 2024.

We are a family-owned business that lives in and loves Stillwater! It has become our adopted hometown since we arrived here a year ago. The idea to create a hyper-local community newspaper here struck suddenly and forcibly, wild as it may sound. Since then, there's been one aim: to serve this town with a good, locally-owned community newspaper.

But what does that mean? Even with all our technological advances, starting a community-based paper is probably more risky now than a hundred years ago. The landscape has changed, making national and global news easy and cheap to access, while local news seems to hang on for dear life.

Starting a newspaper might sound like a crazy idea, thinking from that status quo perspective. But really, the local scene has the advantage: the only thing big tech companies, AIs, and national papers don't have or understand is us. In my book, that's a community paper's purpose -- to be relentlessly local with the sole purpose of serving YOU, not a distant corporation. 

We believe in a local-first emphasis on news, editorials, features, sports, and advertising. While striving always to be objective in its news, we think the paper should avoid sounding too mechanical and corporate. It should function not only to inform but also to entertain and give you something interesting to think about and talk about.

We will not try to keep up with every event or replace every other source of news entirely. Neither is this the place to get riled up about what the Republicans or Democrats are doing. You can find that just about anywhere else.

"But why print?" I get asked that question a lot. At the risk of sounding even more like a luddite, I think sometimes digital just isn't the right technology for some things. Too often, I fall prey to popups, pings, and the unlimited number of things I could do online. They say I'm in a "community," but really I'm in a platform. 

Paper is peaceful. It doesn't know I exist, so it cannot track or push me around. And it's always where I put it unless my cats get to it. And don't get me wrong! I'm not advocating we all go back to sending telegraphs. I'm for progress, but one must always wonder, "Progress towards what?" 

Social media is like the interstate. It's great for when you want to go far fast. Lots of people from everywhere are zooming past you, and it can connect you to pretty much anywhere you want to go. But it has its downsides: it's too fast and sometimes too furious for my taste. Accidents are common. 

A local newspaper is like a county road. It's slower but more familiar. It's entirely local. It connects you to your home, your bank, your school, and your friends. Its character makes you feel at ease even with all its bumps.

No matter how wholesome, starting a paper is risky. We might fail, but that will not stop us from trying. Now more than ever, telling our stories is needed. Spotlighting teachers, entrepreneurs, birthday parties, the comings and goings—stuff we might typically think of as too mundane or ordinary—this is worthwhile. If this paper serves just to remind you that your ordinary life matters, then we won't have fallen too far off track.  

The Lokal Life you are reading today is not the perfectly polished paper that we hoped it would be. It has been put out by a first-time crew of 2-3 people as quickly as we could manage. Some errors have probably crept in despite determined efforts to catch them. We intend to make corrections, learn, and improve with each edition. 

We are still working our way to where we want to be regarding coverage (like Sports) and quickness in publishing. Lokal Life is just at the crawling stage, and it may take us a few months before we can run. We hope and trust you'll bear with us. 

We love Stillwater! Ever since we came here, the friendliness and warmth of the town and its people have drawn us in like a moth to a porch light. We are honored you took the time to read this far so we could introduce ourselves and say "Good morning!".

We hope to do it for many years to come.

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