Top Five Editorials

Jim Pumarlo wrote daily editorials as editor at the Red Wing (Minn.) Republican Eagle. His editorials were recognized in Minnesota Newspaper Association and Inland Newspaper Association writing contests.”The editorials were well written, strongly worded and concise in making their point. They took on difficult topics but dealt with them fairly.”
— Judge’s comments Minnesota Newspaper Association Better Newspaper Contest, 2000-01 Editorial Leadership Award/Best Editorial Portfolio among all nonmetropolitan dailies, first place

“This entry reflects everything that editorials should be, and do. The topics are local, providing insight that people will discuss at coffee shops and over the dinner table. The editorials take a stand and/or request action. They are fair in assessment of situations, but honest in what needs to be accomplished.”
— Judge’s comments Minnesota Newspaper Association Better Newspaper Contest, 1997-98 Best Editorial Portfolio among all nonmetropolitan dailies, first place

United Way in crossfire

The Red Wing City Council, on the recommendation of the city Human Rights Commission, is encouraging residents to not financially support the local Boy Scouts of America units due to the national organization’s policy of excluding individuals from serving as scoutmasters on the basis of sexual orientation. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Scouts’ policy on a 5-4 vote in June.

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Down to strike basics

A letter-writing campaign by Red Wing teachers is attempting to put pressure on the community, especially the business community, to push the School Board for a strike settlement. It’s time for taxpayers — those who bear the ultimate burden — to sift through the emotions and get down to basics.

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Mixed signals on tribe vote

At best, the Prairie Island Tribal Council has done a poor job in communicating the rules of the referendum on its proposed agreement with Xcel Energy for expansion of spent fuel storage at the nearby nuclear plant. At worst, the council is raising suspicion about the integrity of the vote.

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Secret feedlots? No

Feedlots, including those in Goodhue County, generate their share of controversy. And we sympathize with those farmers who have been the subject of harassment — maybe even lawsuits — by animal rights activists.

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County Board snubs Grosso

Goodhue County commissioners owe a public explanation for why Roseanne Grosso of Red Wing was bypassed for the No. 2 leadership post at the boardís reorganizational meeting this week. Their collective silence at the meeting spoke volumes.

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 Who is Jim Pumarlo?

Community newspapers, at their best, are stewards of their communities. The news columns are a blend of stories that people like to read and stories they should read. The advertising columns promote and grow local commerce. And the editorial pages are a marketplace of ideas.

Jim Pumarlo understands that energized newspapers are at the foundation of energized communities. His message is straightforward: Community newspapers – whether delivering information in the print or on the Web – must focus on local news if they are to remain relevant to their readers and advertisers.

You’re welcome to reprint these columns with the appropriate tagline:

Jim Pumarlo writes, speaks and provides training on community newsroom success strategies. He is author of “Bad News and Good Judgment: A Guide to Reporting on Sensitive Issues in Small-Town Newspapers,” “Votes and Quotes: A Guide to Outstanding Election Coverage” and “Journalism Primer: A Guide to Community News Coverage.” He can be reached at and welcomes comments and questions at