The Fillmore County Journal is a family-owned weekly newspaper located in Preston, Minn. — the county seat of Fillmore County.
Audited by the Circulation Verification Council, the Fillmore County Journal distributes 18,500 copies of the weekly newspaper in Brownsville, Canton, Caledonia, Chatfield, Decorah, Dorchester, Eitzen, Fountain, Grand Meadow, Harmony, Hokah, Houston, La Crescent, Lanesboro, LeRoy, Mabel, New Albin, Ostrander, Peterson, Preston, Rushford, Rushford Village, Spring Grove, Spring Valley, Whalan, and Wykoff.
With the news coverage of 20 city councils, 10 school districts, and Fillmore County and Houston County governments, the reporters of this newspaper are constantly busy with meetings nearly every night of the week. And, occasionally, the news staff gets involved in covering a hot issue in one of the townships of Amherst, Arendahl, Beaver, Black Hammer, Bloomfield, Bristol, Canton, Carimona, Carrolton, Chatfield, Fillmore, Forestville, Fountain, Harmony, Holt, Houston, Jordan, Money Creek, Newburg, Norway, Pilot Mound, Preble, Preston, Spring Valley, Sumner, York, Wilmington, and Yucatan.
In addition to government news coverage, the Fillmore County Journal publishes obituaries for the locals of our region.
We also publish the most lively commentary pages in our region, full of local opinions about issues important to our readers. These commentaries also prompt online comments, which adds to the flavor of these local opinions. We have a very passionate and engaged audience.
Our sports coverage is outstanding! No joke! We cover the Chatfield Gophers, Houston Hurricanes, Fillmore Central Falcons, Mabel-Canton Cougars, Lanesboro Burros, Rushford-Peterson Trojans, and Kingsland Knights, Grand Meadow Larks, LeRoy-Ostrander Cardinals, Spring Grove Lions, and Caledonia Warriors — and we are proud of our sports coverage every single week.
And, then there is our Social Scenes section dedicated to announcements for births, engagements, weddings, anniversaries, retirements, and military service.
Aside from the obituaries, the next most-read feature in the Fillmore County Journal is the police and court reports.
Along with all of this great news coverage that makes this weekly publication an official legal newspaper of record for Fillmore County and Houston County, the news staff provides heartfelt human interest stories that help readers better understand the perspectives of others.
And, all of this is made possible only with the help of local advertisers. Because, the Fillmore County Journal is delivered free to all local households and businesses in the aforementioned news coverage area. We have a philosophy that we only distribute our newspaper in communities where we provide news coverage. It needs to be relevant to our readers.
Fillmore County Journal History
This newspaper was started in 1985 by Richard and Esther Kelly, husband and wife, along with business partner Larry Salge. Shortly after the launch of the newspaper, Larry Salge left the partnership. The Kellys continued with publishing the weekly newspaper until they sold it John and Patricia Torgrimson in 1997. From that point forward, the Torgrimsons owned and operated the newspaper until they sold the publication to Jason and Amanda Sethre in 2009.
The Fillmore County Journal has continued to expand news coverage and circulation to serve the needs of readers and advertisers in the region.
On Friday, March 27, 2020, Bluff Country Newspaper Group owner David Phillips closed all six of his newspapers, which included The Chatfield News, Fillmore County News Leader, Rushford Tri-County Record, Spring Grove Herald, Spring Valley Tribune, and Bluff Country Reader. The closure of these six newspapers had been planned for many months, with David Phillips selling his assets to the Fillmore County Journal as he prepared for retirement. On April 1, 2020, the Fillmore County Journal absorbed the news and advertising content of all six newspapers of the Bluff Country Newspaper Group.
The Fillmore County Journal has become a continuation of the historic newspapers Bluff Country Reader, The Chatfield News, Fillmore County News Leader, Rushford Tri-County Record, Spring Grove Herald and Spring Valley Tribune.
In September of 2021, the Fillmore County Journal expanded further into Houston County, opening an office in downtown Caledonia, Minn. — the county seat of Houston County. With a commitment to covering city council, school board, and county government meetings, the newspaper has been named the official legal newspaper for the majority of townships, cities, school districts and Houston County government.
While owning and operating the Fillmore County Journal, the Sethres have re-branded a Guide to Historic Bluff Country to be recognized as Visit Bluff Country Magazine — originally established in 1985. This premiere tourism magazine has evolved into the most widely distributed visitors guide of its kind. With more than 50,000 copies in circulation to over 1,000 locations in 35 counties in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, Visit Bluff Country Magazine is the most sought-after tourism publication serving the four state area. In 2022, as the Mississippi River Valley Partners made plans to dissolve and discontinue their Lake Pepin Magazine, they collaborated with Visit Bluff Country Magazine to create a presence in the publication to better promote tourism for the Lake Pepin region. The magazine is also available online at www.visitbluffcountry.com.
Another venture launched by the Sethres started in October 2009 and has grown year-after-year to serve local and national businesses seeking an online presence. This company is named SMG Web design, and more information can be found at www.smgwebdesign.com.
In addition to the newspaper, a high quality glossy printing company was developed to better serve clients seeking specialty print services. This print operation named Perfect Glossy has become a household name, also found at www.perfectglossy.com.
Starting in November 2014, the staff at the Fillmore County Journal began the journey of publishing a book that would become a legacy project for the newspaper. This beautiful hardcover perfect-bound book became known as Boots & Badges: Honoring Fillmore County Veterans. In February 2016, this book was presented to the public at the Preston Servicemen’s Club with the support of the Fillmore County Veterans Affairs Office, Preston VFW, Preston American Legion, and F & M Community Bank. There are more than 3,400 Fillmore County (Minn.) veterans represented in Boots & Badges: Honoring Fillmore County Veterans from generations spanning eras from the War of 1812 to the second Iraq War. More information can be found at www.fillmorecountyveterans.com.
The Fillmore County Journal is a part of Sethre Media Group, Inc., a company focused on media, marketing, and technology. More information can be found at www.sethremediagroup.com.
Recent Awards & Recognition
In January 2018, the Fillmore County Journal was honored at the 151st annual Minnesota Newspaper Association with three awards: Website, General Reporting, Advertising Excellence. There are 244 newspapers in 87 counties throughout the state of Minnesota, so the team at the Fillmore County Journal is honored to receive this recognition.