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From the editor: Why weather? Because it matters to you

Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.

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Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.

The first part of the famous quote does a bit to explain why we've brought on Randy Brock, the well-known former television meteorologist, to produce regular weather commentaries and forecasts on our website, PostBulletin.com. The weather is central to our daily lives, influencing our daily commutes, our recreation opportunities, and, at times, our safety. We want to provide you information that's useful in your daily lives, and that includes weather.

Our commitment to weather coverage doesn't stop there. In addition to Randy, we've brought on a whole team of meteorologists – five of them – from StormTRACKER, part of the family of companies owned by Forum Communications, which owns the Post Bulletin. Those meteorologists now supply our daily forecast in print, as well as twice-daily video forecasts at our website. Check us out first thing in the morning for a look at the day ahead.

Yet to come — we'll be adding Rochester local information to the StormTRACKER app, available for your smartphone or tablet. We see it as an indispensable tool for the weather-curious and people on the go. We're tailoring that service for a Rochester audience, and we'll announce it when it's ready.

Back to Randy for a moment. He's one of Rochester's best-known and best-liked media personalities, and we'll find ways to use him beyond just weather reporting. One thing he'll do is co-host a new weekly podcast we'll be introducing soon, giving you an inside look at the Post Bulletin — how we find and report our stories, what we learn along the way, how we think the news affects you and how the reporting affects us sometimes, too. We hope to be starting that later next week.

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Awards of the state

Let's get the bummer out of the way first: We didn't bring home the coveted Vance Trophy again this year from the Minnesota Newspaper Association's annual conference. It was ours for the past two years, but this year, our sister paper, the Forum of Fargo-Moorhead, took home the big hardware. We're happy for them.

Now, the good news. We did win plenty of big awards, including and especially first place for general excellence, which is just about as gratifying to have as a big trophy anyway. Two other big standout prizes: We won first place for general reporting (the Forum was second) and first place for use of photography as a whole. Our photo editor, Ken Klotzbach, tells me we've never won that award, which is surprising when you consider the talented shooters who have been here over the years. Our team of Joe Ahlquist, Traci Westcott, Ken and Andrew Link (who since has moved to online editor) is second to none – at least, I've always thought so. Now we have the certificate to back it up.

Overall, the PB won 19 awards, about the same as we won in the years when we had the trophy. Some years, the Twins win 95 games and finish in first place, and sometimes they win that many and finish second. That's the way life goes. We'll work extra hard to get that trophy back next year; you can count on it.

New additions

I've been at the Post Bulletin for 19 years, and we've seen the newsroom shrink over that time period, through attrition and occasional painful layoffs. Those days are behind us. Now we're adding staff and contributors. That includes Randy Brock, but he's part time. Let me introduce you briefly to some of the new faces in our newsroom:

Traci Westcott

Traci started in October – her first day on the job was our first day in our new headquarters in Southwest Rochester – and she works as a photographer and digital content producer. We're the first stop in her career. She cut her teeth in an internship at the Jasper Herald, one of the premier places in this great country for photojournalists to learn their craft. We think filling our staff with people who have these kinds of blue-chip experiences helps raise the bar.

Meredith Williams

Meredith started here a couple of weeks before Christmas. She's our features editor, and you can see her outstanding work in today's E section, for just one recent example. Meredith connected with us last June as our primary layout artist in the Fargo newsroom, but we pretty quickly saw her as more than that, because she's got great news judgment, editing skills and a talent for organization. I wanted to hire Tom Sizemore's character from "Saving Private Ryan" for my editing team, and that's what we feel we've got in Meredith.

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Isaac Trotter

Isaac started here last month as a sports reporter. If you read his recent story about Bailee O'Reilly , the University of Minnesota wrestler who competes to honor his late mother, you have seen what he is capable of. It was a brilliant story. Isaac comes to us straight out of college at the University of Illinois, but he's got an uncommon maturity, poise and drive, and we're glad to have him. He's also multimedia-savvy, so keep an eye out for his work at PostBulletin.com.

We're not done adding new faces, either. I'll have at least one more to share with you next time I write.

Later deadlines

Speaking of next time, the next time I write — and I hope it will be very soon — I should have some details for you on a plan to get next-day sports results and other late news in the daily print edition.

This has been a vexing problem to solve, but I'm informed that a solution is near. Thanks for sticking with us in the meantime.

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