Friday, July 24, 2009

Frustrations of a Small-Town Journalist

Daniel Nelson graduated from Loonfoot Falls High School back in 1999, got a degree in Journalism from Foggton University four years later, and started work here a couple weeks later. He did a good job: although Nelson clearly wanted to get past merely assisting the editors.

On his own time, he'd study Loonfoot Falls, looking for the story that would put his name on the journalistic map. He became convinced that there was an expose just waiting to be written about Rasmussen's department store, downtown.

There'd been a Rasmussen's in Loonfoot Falls for about a hundred years. The current owner's grandfather started the store as a clothing shop, and some of the fourth generation is working there, learning the ropes. And, as often as not, there are "SALE" signs in the windows.

Dan Nelson found the store's frequent sales quite suspicious.

After three years Nelson gave up, dropped his notes and a letter of resignation on Mr. Johnson's desk, and left town. His notes, weighing about two pounds, made their way to my desk this year. My hat's off to Dan Nelson: he'd done a particularly thorough job, not just collecting information about Rasmussen's, but analyzing the store's records.

Those sales? He'd discovered that Rasmussen's was getting the season's stock off the racks to make room for new merchandise. Not every store has sales that often, but there wasn't anything illegal, or unethical, about them.

Don't worry about Dan Nelson. He's now the editor of Morlock's Voice, down in Minneapolis.

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