Editor's Desk: A reminder of the importance of local news

This is for Bob from McHenry.

Bob called me Wednesday to tell me that he doesn’t care about parking meters in North Dakota. A story about the state’s efforts to end a 70-year ban on parking meters on public streets had run on page A2 of that day’s Northwest Herald. Bob said he cares about what is happening in McHenry County, and specifically, what is happening in McHenry.

Bob is right. This paper exists to cover local news.

Since I started as the news editor of the Northwest Herald two weeks ago, I’ve been working to make sure we’re using the resources we have to tell as many interesting and important local stories as we can each day in print and online.

While the newspaper is owned by Shaw Media, it belongs to the community. To readers like Bob.

I’ve spent the past 12 years covering local news. My first job was at the Hollister Free Lance in San Benito County, California. My first story was about that year’s rodeo queen.

After that, I took a job at the Fond du Lac Reporter in Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin, covering local government. That’s where I met my wife, Amie, who’s also a journalist.

I started as a reporter at the Northwest Herald in September 2008 covering Crystal Lake. Later, I moved to the business section and eventually became the editor of that section.

I received a crash course in local business culture, learning about and telling the stories of local entrepreneurs, small business owners and corporate leaders.

In early 2015, shortly after the birth of our son, Wesley, Amie and I moved to Sycamore when I took over as news editor at the Daily Chronicle in DeKalb, another Shaw Media newspaper.

Two years later, I’m ready to pick up where I left off.

So call me. Tell me what we’re doing right, what we’re doing wrong and what stories you think deserve more attention.

• Brett Rowland is news editor of the Northwest Herald. He can be reached at 815-526-4630 or

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