Column: Still committed to your city
It's been two months now since we combined the two newspapers we produce in this office. That's 10 issues and counting of combined Farmington and Rosemount news, and one comment we have heard multiple times from our readers.
"There's too much Rosemount news," the Farmington readers complain on one day.
"There's too much in there about Farmington," the group from Rosemount says the next.
It's like those old Reese's Peanut Butter Cup commercials, only without the part where everyone realizes two great things can be even better together.
This all tells me a couple of important things. First, our readers need to get out and meet their neighbors. Farmington and Rosemount are both full of lovely people. Honest. I've met many of them.
The two cities have a lot in common. Their populations are about the same size. More than any of their other immediate neighbors, they are poised for growth as the housing market picks up steam again. A couple of years from now their high schools will even be in the same athletic conference.
Come on down for Dew Days next month, Rosemount residents, and see how Farmington does its annual summer celebration. Farmington residents can head north in July for Leprechaun Days to return the favor. Bed races and bathtub races really aren't that different when you get right down to it. They both involve putting wheels on things that shouldn't have them. One has water balloons. The other has people trying to eat crackers and whistle.
Check it out. Mingle. Get to know each other. Have a pot luck or something.
Maybe more important, though, these comments are a reminder that people really liked having a newspaper that focused on their city and their city alone.
We get that, but here's the thing: All of that news is still in here. We still cover Farmington and Rosemount the same way we always have.
In Farmington there are readers who will swear we've been cutting stories to make room for more from Rosemount, while in Rosemount some will swear the opposite is true.
It's not. Not in either case. I should know. I counted.
In the March 29, 2012 issue of the Farmington Independent, for example, there were 14 stories with reporter's bylines. On March 28 this year, our combined paper had 13 bylined Farmington stories. The same week last year our Rosemont had 10 bylined stories. This year we had nine.
The situation is similar in the other issues I checked. The week of April 19 last year we had 20 Farmington stories and 19 Rosemount stories. On April 18 this year we had eight stories from Farmington and 10 from Rosemount. That might not seem like a favorable comparison, but when you remove sports stories -- only fair considering how slow this year's snow-shrouded spring has been to get going -- the margin shrinks to 11-8 in Farmington and 11-7 in Rosemount.
The week of April 26 last year we had 10 non-sports Farmington stories. This year we had eight. In Rosemount we had nine stories last year and 11 this year.
These numbers are never going to match perfectly. News happens when it happens, and some weeks are simply slower than others. But it supports the argument we're still as invested as ever in each of the cities we cover.
We still like Farmington. We still like Rosemount. We still plan to spend a lot of time in both cities. Maybe as we spend time in one we'll start carrying some fun facts about the other.
Get to know each other, Farmington and Rosemount. Bring a dish to pass.