I submitted the following letter to the editor to the sponsors of the Best of the Northland contest sponsors: Liberty Tribune, Gladstone Dispatch, and Kearney Courier. I doubt they will publish it, as the moderators of the BOTN Facebook page (likely the same people in charge of the opinion sections of those papers, all owned by one media company) haven’t exactly been open to my concerns.
So, here’s my letter.
Yesterday, I saw the results of the Best of the Northland, and I’m disappointed. In several categories, national chains were the first place winners – and sometimes the only winners. Not even a specific location, but the chain in general.
It does a huge disservice to our Northland community to say Starbucks or Jiffy Lube is the best we have to offer in those categories. If you go to any city, you know what you’re getting if you go to a chain, but that’s not what makes a community really unique.
I’m a journalism student, and I believe the media should be a resource (for locals and tourists) to showcase the hidden gems in our community – truly the best of the northland, not the most popular. After all, Wal-Mart is the most popular grocery store, but are they the best?
I know so many passionate, friendly, fantastic small business owners in the Northland, and it breaks my heart to see conglomerates like Starbucks and Jiffy Lube chosen as the best over these hard-working Americans.
Presentation Coordinator, Northland Business Women’s Forum