by Dennis Dalman
Ten years of the Newsleaders newspapers have been bound between hard covers for posterity and are now being indexed at the Stearns History Museum in St. Cloud.
That’s about 1,000 newspapers – about 500 issues of the St. Joseph Newsleader and 500 of the Sartell-St. Stephen Newsleader.
In addition, the museum archival collection contains microfilm versions of the first two decades of the Newsleaders, stemming back to 1989. That was the year the weekly St. Joseph Newsleader was founded by owner-publisher Janelle Von Pinnon. In 1995, she debuted the Sartell-St. Stephen Newsleader. Throughout the last three decades, Von Pinnon also produced at one time or another Newsleader newspapers for Sauk Rapids-Rice and for Waite Park.
“We downsized to a smaller office and were happy to donate past issues, so readers may access historical information as needed” Von Pinnon said. “The bound newspapers will allow future generations to explore and reference the past 30 years of recorded significant happenings in the communities of St. Joseph and Sartell-St. Stephen.”
Last summer, Von Pinnon asked the Stearns History Museum if its staff would like to have copies of the papers that had been stored at the news office. Steve Penick, archivist for the museum, said he would be happy to have them. Shortly afterward, Penick had a bindery bound each year’s-worth of papers between hard covers.
For several months, museum employee Heather Hall has spent part of her weekends meticulously indexing all of the papers for ease of access. For example, if a museum visitor is doing research and wants to find, say, a particular obituary or some past newsworthy event, they can consult an alphabetized master index to find the specific issue and information they are seeking.
Penick said all of the bound issues will be indexed in about a year.
The Newsleaders are a welcome addition to the museum, Penick said, along with collections of other area newspapers.
“I’m so glad the Stearns History Museum showed such a genuine interest in preserving the newspapers,” Von Pinnon said. “They are a great testimonial to the resilient spirit of each of our cities.”
In addition, past issues were donated to the St. Joseph and Sartell historical societies.
Week after week, year after year throughout three decades, the Newsleaders were made possible by the support and confidence of readers and advertisers, Von Pinnon noted.
“And we hope to continue providing quality news coverage for years to come,” she said.