Kenmare ND - Upside Down Under

Real People. Real Jobs. Real Adventures.

Upside Down Under

By Marvin Baker, a new weekly column in The Kenmare News


The official county newspaper...

Posted 6/05/18 (Tue)

As you go to the polls on Tuesday and vote for your favorite candidates, don’t forget to mark the box that states “Kenmare News” for official Ward County newspaper.

There will be only one other name on the ballot as well as a spot for write ins.

Admittedly, this is a David and Goliath proposition. The other newspaper, which has had the official county newspaper status for many years, is in a community of nearly 50,000 people.

However, stranger things have happened. I believe it was in the early 1980s that the tiny, tabloid Edmore Herald beat out the Devils Lake Daily Journal for official Ramsey County newspaper status.

The voters in Ramsey County were done with the status quo so they voted for the Edmore Herald, which was a surprise to everyone.

We’d like to see that surprise here in Ward County as well. We see and hear things all the time, and we always take that information with a grain of salt. What we do know, is what we are capable of doing and we are certainly capable of handling Ward County’s legal notices.

But, as I mentioned earlier. This is David and Goliath here so we, at The Kenmare News, need your help.

First of all, vote for this newspaper. If you want to see a major change in this county, check the Kenmare News box.

Secondly, we all have friends and relatives in other parts of Ward County. From the time you see this article until it’s time to vote, call your friends and tell them you read this article and that they should consider The Kenmare News for this designation.

Obviously, Minot is the 800-pound gorilla in the room, but there are numerous other places in this county where voters live.

Let’s use word of mouth to make this happen. OK, a newspaper editor just suggested using word of mouth as advertising. Let’s see how well it really does work.

You may have friends in Makoti, you may have friends in Surrey or Rice Lake, we all know people in Minot. Tell them we are looking for an upset and will cater to the voters if elected.

Not only that, but should The Kenmare News be so designated,  newsstands could be set up in various places to give everyone access to those public notices.

That’s important because this whole vote is about public notices and how they are placed in the official newspaper.

From north of Kenmare south to Douglas, there are numerous small towns and many more farms where voters live. And those votes count, I know, I’ve seen Devra Smestad and her staff count them.

This has always been a pet project of mine. When I worked in Langdon, we were the only newspaper in Cavalier County, so getting votes was a no-brainer.

What we did, however, is solicited votes as if we had stiff competition. As a result, our vote total was in the 94 percentile, which told us that we were doing something right if that many people voted for us and didn’t check the blank box with another newspaper like the Cavalier Chronicle or Grand Forks Herald or something.

In the years I worked in New Town, there were three newspapers in Mountrail County in New Town, Parshall and Stanley. The Mountrail County Promoter was always the official paper.

One year, I took it upon myself to solicit votes for the New Town News. We didn’t win, but we came within 170 votes and in years prior the totals weren’t even close.

So this can happen if we put our minds to it. In Australia, they have a name for this. It’s called “Puffing Billy.” That’s the old wood-fired locomotive that could do anything and that includes winning the vote for official county newspaper.

Here’s another way to think about this. Last year while researching World War I, each Kenmare News issue had official Ward County newspaper at the top of the front page.

They didn’t have computers back then to transfer information like we can now so think of how much more difficult it was then, not to mention making sure everyone in the  county had access to this newspaper.

The last time The Kenmare News was in the running, we were defeated by a substantial margin, most likely because there was no campaigning and little thought.

This time around, it’s a request from the editor to let your friends know that we are seeking this vote. One vote can turn into a thousand quickly.

Make sure you vote June 12 for your favorite candidates and Ward County’s favorite newspaper.