Story shows far-reaching impact of newspapers

When The Minot Daily News published a story earlier this week about folks at a visitor center in Pennsylvania hoping someone from North Dakota would stop by to be the first one from this state to sign the center’s register, it didn’t take long for the word to get out.

Chuck Hubbell, an ambassador for the Laurel Highlands Visitor Center in Connellsville, Pennsylvania, had contacted this newspaper last Friday, saying no one from North Dakota had ever signed the guest register. The Great Allegheny Passage trail, a biking and hiking trail, gets around 1½ million visitors a year. Hubbell said the visitor center would even have a gift bag with some special gifts waiting for the first North Dakota visitor.

Just a few hours after this newspaper was published, Eric Knopsnyder, director of Public Relations and Community Outreach at the Laurel Highlands Visitor Bureau in Ligonier, called to let us know his phone had been ringing with calls from North Dakotans who saw the story. The Connellsville visitor center is an arm of the Bureau in Ligonier.

In his call to this newspaper on Tuesday, Knopsnyder said at 7:30 a.m. that morning a woman phoned to let him know she lives in the Connellsville area and is originally from North Dakota. She told him her family lives in the Minot area. Her family had seen the Minot story and sent it to her. “She was trying to make it to Connellsville so she could claim the prize there as the first North Dakotan,” he said.

He said he also heard from another North Dakotan who is from Langdon. The Langdon resident, Chad Lombardi, also contacted this newspaper and said he and his wife, Tiffany, along with their Pomeranian dog, Swiffer, were at the Connellsville visitor center Aug. 2 and signed the guest book. Stories about the visitor center were published here and in Connellsville in the following days after their visit.

Knopsnyder said he received another call that day from a man from about 60 miles southwest of Minot, in the Parshall area, who said he’s originally from South Connellsville. “He was really excited to see his hometown mentioned in The Minot Daily News,” Knopsnyder said.

“At any rate, there’s a lot of life to the story,” Knopsnyder said.

Whoever is determined to be the first North Dakotan to sign the register and thus receives the gift bag is up to the visitor center members in Connellsville.

But we feel stories like the one about the Connellsville visitor center – a visitor center more than 1,400 miles from Minot – show the far-reaching impact of this newspaper and other newspapers. The far reach of newspaper stories isn’t just nationwide, but global.


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