Column: Nerhaugen put community into journalismRuth Nerhaugen epitomized the concept of community journalist long before our industry coined the phrase, and she has practiced the profession with passion for nearly 35 years at the Red Wing Republican Eagle.
By: Anne Jacobson, The Republican Eagle
Ruth Nerhaugen epitomized the concept of community journalist long before our industry coined the phrase, and she has practiced the profession with passion for nearly 35 years at the Red Wing Republican Eagle.
She officially retired Nov. 27. We anticipate she will continue writing occasional feature stories and contributing to special sections and projects in the months head, but she is no longer part of our newsroom day in and day out.
We invite you, members of our community — which stretches beyond Red Wing from Cannon Falls to Pepin and Ellsworth to Kenyon — to help us wish her well.
We will hold an open house from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. Monday at the R-E office. Come have a piece of cake and share a story or two.
The paper obviously has lost a fount of institutional knowledge. Ruth knows who did what, when, where, why and how — things you can’t find anywhere on the Internet. She’s been the go-to person on many fronts because she’s covered nearly every news beat — city hall, county, school, arts, health and more.
By definition, a community journalist focuses on local news. Coverage concentrates on things central to neighborhoods and small towns, rather than metropolitan, state, national or world news.
Even when covering the broader topics, the community journalist concentrates on the effect these issues have on local readers.
Community journalists also tend to cover subjects larger news media do not, such as students at the local high school, crimes such as vandalism, zoning issues and other details that affect residents’ daily lives.
Ruth certainly has done all of that and more.
I met Ruth my first day at the old downtown Republican Eagle office 20 years ago. I had read a half-dozen editions in preparation for moving to town. Ruth Nerhaugen’s byline dominated Page 1. More of her worked filled the inside papers.
“Who is this reporting dynamo?” I remember thinking. I quickly learned.
She cranked out local copy right up to her final day — including her final Sunday Driver column for in today’s edition.
Please read it on page 10B. We’re letting her have the last word.