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Dodging censorship, thanking 4-H and more

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This past week, we received a couple of calls from a reader and critic convinced that an advertisement we ran was offensive and we should not have run it. We’ve run into this before. I’ve written on the topic before. To be clear, I have asserted the same position even when an ad that we published was diametrically opposed to my own personal principles.

That’s because there is a greater principle at play, and I will explain this again. You don’t want us in the job of deciding what advertisers can appear in the paper and which ones can’t. It isn’t textbook censorship but it’s the same foul premises. If media products begin to determine who can and can’t advertise in the outlet, then they control the flow of almost all information to you. Media could deny you exposure to an entire party’s campaign information. We don’t filter news espousing ideas with which our editorial board disagrees, much less filter advertising.

There are laws preventing anyone from publishing criminal advertising. Short of that, restricting advertising is restricting information… and whatever that legal information is… is unethical.

Please don’t ask us (any media) to shield you from knowledge. Please don’t ask us to shield your children from knowledge. That’s your job. Assigning that responsibility to anyone else is how you end up with Common Core.

Phone book blues

A caller this past week lamented the lack of contact information for the ND delegation in the most recent phone book delivered by SRT. He asked if we could intervene. Well, there isn’t anything we can do except this: we searched the book and it does, as usual, contain phone numbers for our senators and US House member. Maybe it has been moved but it is indeed there.

Thanks to 4-H!

Minot Daily News extends a warm, and well-fed thank you to Minot’s 4-H. There it was an average morning around the Daily News HQ when all of a sudden, cookies appear courtesy of 4-H! Now, as I have written before, newspaper offices operate on a steady flow of food. Hey, we keep weird hours and set our schedules around other folks’ schedules. So when delicious pastry arrives, bells chime, alert signals go off and random snack time is hailed. Well, it is something like that!

4-H is a wonderful organization, it’s agriculture focus both essential to maintaining our way of life and buoying the next generation of farmers and ranchers. Furthermore, it instills in young people a connection to the land, to agriculture to husbandry. I might be a little biased here. As a kid, I was involved in 4-H and FFA back in Green Country, Oklahoma. Wherever life has taken me since – and that’s a lot of places – the fundamentals of my world view were shaped by those early years in the deep, deep, deep country of Creek County, and by institutions like 4-H, FFA and Boy Scouts. It’s hard for me to imagine a family wouldn’t want their children to enjoy the same virtuous, life-enhancing experiences.

Check out www.ag.ndsu.edu/wardcountyextension/4h-and-youth for more information. You’ll be glad you did.

… and thanks again for the cookies!

Getting to know us…

Over the next few weeks, we’re going to bring readers figuratively into the Minot Daily News building and family to introduce you to the people who make sure you get your paper every day. From customer service and the business department, to circulation and sales, to editorial and creative, to the hard-working and dedicated folks who print, sort and mail out copies of the paper. We’re setting up group photos and explanations of our various duties. I hope getting to know all of us will just further cement MDN as your seven-day local news source and a community institution. We’re your neighbors and we’re proud of the work that we do. We also enjoy what we do and enjoy sharing our enthusiasm with all of you.

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