We are emphasizing the importance of your community newspaper by subtraction — a front page devoid of news — this week as part of a statewide “whiteout” campaign in honor of the 150th anniversary of the Minnesota Newspaper Association, of which we are members. It’s a not-so-subtle reminder of all that you would lose if your local newspaper ceased to exist.

Local newspapers have a long tradition of providing you with the news and information that help you make critical decisions and stay informed. Often, our reporters are one of the only “guests” or observers at local government meetings, sitting through the sessions to provide you the details on decisions local officials make.

However, our role is much more than being a watchdog of local government. We also strive to capture the moments in life that define our communities and share the stories of the people of our communities.

Those stories help shape who we are as a community and help us come together as a community. And, by community, we mean the entire community, not just your Facebook friends, fellow club members, acquaintances and relatives.

Our stories highlight: the struggles that lead to victory or even defeat; the heartache of a natural disaster or devastating disease; the joy of a key win, even a state title, for a local team; reflections on a long career when retirement comes; or details on a personal quest, whether it is a mission trip to help people abroad or simply an interesting hobby.

Our statistics show that the stories of people are what readers seek. Although there is no easy way to measure the readership of print articles, our online presence does have a tool to measure views. Only one local government story cracks our top 20, and that was about a controversial referendum proposal voted down by a school board.

Our most read online stories so far in 2017 focus on “life,” not government — a couple delivering a baby in a parking lot, a coach who lived to help others, but died too soon, a man confronted with a sudden, aggressive illness, a teaching couple retiring, a woman who transformed herself from “fat girl” to “fit girl” and a new police officer just starting his job.

The collapse of a downtown building wall made our top five while changes in local businesses, community events such as the return of a drive-in theater and a first-ever marching band festival also scored high in readership.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar has a column elsewhere on this page about her journalist father who covered historical events, but also found time to write about everyday heroes, from children with cancer to Minnesota veterans.

“He believed that all stories needed to be told, and that by sharing these stories, we deepen our understanding of one another and become more united as a country,” writes Klobuchar.

Storytelling is as old as human history. People may be caught up in the newest technological wonders, but they can’t replace the human interaction needed to tell the stories of people in our community.

You can say you get all your news on the internet, but if you truly care about the local community, you are going to miss out on the stories of your neighbors if there is no local newspaper to write them and publish them in print and online. That’s because only your local newspaper is interested in the people of the community.

Larger media rarely care about local people or happenings unless there is a major controversy. They aren’t going to stick around to cover students at a fire safety demonstration, people enjoying or planning for a town celebration, a citizen honored by a local organization, local residents putting on a community play, a group working to get a veterans memorial erected or a local business person who retires after decades of service.

Your community newspaper has been providing these stories for decades. We think it is a tradition worth continuing and hope you do, too, by supporting our quest to provide comprehensive news of the community.

We don’t intend to have any more front pages devoid of news. However, the decision whether a permanent void is created in the life of the community is up to you, our readers and advertisers, as much as it is up to us at your local newspaper.

That’s our story. Now, we’ll get back to telling the stories of the community.