Waseca County Pioneer 111 W. Elm Ave.

Waseca, MN (507) 837-6767


STAFF- Most of the Pioneer staff is pictured above. From left, Jonah Stafford, Amelia Roessler, Deb Bently, Jim Lutgens, Eli Lutgens, Logan Piltingsrud, whose photos have been featured in the Star Eagle, held by Melanie Piltingsrud, Michael Roy, Chris Schlaak, and Reed Waller. Pioneer photo by Pam Goehrig

A paper to be proud of

Newspaper opens in Waseca
“We plan to find at least one story for every edition that makes the whole year’s subscription worthwhile. We know we won’t have everything for everybody in every edition, but we will definitely have something for everyone.” –Eli Lutgens, publisher
This issue of the Waseca County Pioneer is the first edition of a weekly paper which will cover the whole county, focusing on the town of Waseca.
It is the brainchild of Eli Lutgens, publisher of the NRHEG Star Eagle, and the Pioneer's editor Michael Roy, three-year writer and jack-of-all-trades for both the Janesville Journal and the Star Eagle. It has been more than a year in conception and development. According to Eli, its purpose is simple: “Bringing the same small-town special feeling to a Waseca paper as the one we have in the Star Eagle.
“We want to produce something that not only we can be proud of, but something that the community can take pride in: a paper that truly records and represents life in Waseca County.”
Michael agrees. “A paper’s priority is serving the people of its community, giving them the news and information they want: covering the people, families and events that are part of their lives.”
In addition to serving as writers and reporters themselves, Eli and Michael have recruited—and continue to recruit—writers and reporters from the area. Some will write full time, others will produce occasional pieces. Some are new to the industry, others have decades of experience, but Eli observes that nearly all have one overriding qualification: “They’re local. They have lifelong roots in the community.”
Readers of the Pioneer can expect to find news from all four of Waseca’s city councils as well as county government. The sports section will focus on Waseca teams and games, with highlights from JWP and NRHEG events. Breaking news will come from across the county. Area businesses will be featured regularly.
When it comes to human interest, the stories of characters and innovators from all around the area will appear weekly. Their experiences and observations will be shared with the energy and originality they deserve. 
Advertising will make readers aware of the services and goods available in the area and keep them up to date on specials and short-term opportunities.
“Every community has three pillars,” claims Eli. “People want to keep up with what’s happening in their schools, businesses and churches.
“We plan to be responsive to those interests,” he says, adding that people with suggestions for news stories—including events in the faith community—are invited to contact the paper with information.
While this is the first full edition of the Pioneer, it has been preceded by coverage of Waseca sports events Michael has been writing in the Star Eagle since November, 2021.
Both Michael and Eli have been asked whether newspapers have a place in today’s technology-based society, whether the printed word isn’t dying.
“How can you call something ‘dying’ when it’s in three-quarters of the homes in a community?” Eli asks, observing that the number of subscriptions to the Star Eagle has been growing steadily. As for the Journal, which began in 2019, Michael says community members are still thanking publisher Tracie Rosacker for founding it, since the town had been without a paper since the closing of the Argus more than a decade earlier.
“A community newspaper not only records what’s happening, it preserves it,” observes Michael. “People recognize that; they want to be part of it.”
Still, the “pioneering” of this new publication is in its early phases. Assembling the writers, photographers and resources needed to put this issue in people’s hands has been an exciting, invigorating process, according to Michael and Eli, with many steps taken behind the scenes.
Eli reports that the people and businesses he has contacted in the Waseca community so far have responded with energy and enthusiasm. “I’ve had hundreds of conversations,” he says. “I’ve been absolutely blown away by their response.” 
While this issue has been distributed free to the entire county, the next issue will be distributed to Waseca addresses only. After that, the paper will be available only by subscription or on the newsstand. For the first weeks, the introductory annual subscription rate will be $40, after which a regular rate of $55. More information about subscribing can be found in the informational box on page two. 
From here, Michael and Eli expect an exciting ride. 
“We’ve been preparing for this for quite a while,” says Eli. “We have everything in place on our end and we’re excited to be getting started.”
“From here, we want to respond to the community…it’s needs and interests,” says Michael. “Flag us down any time and let us know what you want: I’m in the blue Kia.
“Tell us what you want us to do.”


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103 S. State Street
Waseca, MN

(507) 837-6767


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