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Lubbers column: After 16 years, Hollingsworth leaves lasting legacy at DNT

Jana Hollingsworth1 / 2
Rick Lubbers2 / 2

The textbook definition of a journalist is one-dimensional.

Vanilla.

Bland.

By this short-sighted measure, a newspaper journalist is simply someone who writes for newspapers, magazines or news websites.

Sorry, but true journalists mean so much more to their publications.

One such dyed-in-the-wool journalist, Jana Hollingsworth, has spent 16 years demonstrating everything a journalist should be: an advocate for her readers, loyal to the paper, a caring and collaborative co-worker, a staunch follower of journalism's codes and a stickler for details, fairness and accuracy.

Sadly, Friday was Jana's last day at the News Tribune, as she ventures into a new line of work (Though, you'll want to read her and Brooks Johnson's investigative work on domestic abuse cases that will be published in Sunday's DNT).

Up until Friday, Jana's career had been spent entirely in Twin Ports newsrooms.

She started at the News Tribune during the summer of 2002 — the ink on her St. Thomas diploma not quite dry — as a news assistant and occasional reporter. Two years later, she moved over to the Superior Telegram and worked as that paper's education reporter. In 2006, Jana returned to the News Tribune as the night general assignment reporter for three months before taking on higher education and Native American issues for beats. She added K-12 coverage in 2010 until becoming an investigative reporter earlier this year.

All along the way, her passion for storytelling and providing readers important information was unparalleled in our newsroom.

Whether it was double- and triple-checking (oftentimes more!) facts in her stories, rooting out hated cliches, convincing a hesitant source to talk on the record, running her rough drafts past colleagues for their advice or questioning a headline and presentation in the paper or online, Jana's motivation was always fueled by giving our readers the best journalism possible.

She challenged, motivated and guided us often when tough decisions had to be made or we simply needed to be reminded about a core principle or an aspect of our everyday mission.

She never considered her work at the DNT as a job, rather it was simply part of her being — a relentless pursuit of truth. She punched a clock, but never seemed to be truly off-duty. If news was breaking somewhere — at any time — she made sure someone from the DNT was pursuing it. It wasn't unusual to see her pop into the newsroom on a day off to help out on breaking news stories.

I know she never imagined a time when she would walk away from something that she so thoroughly loved doing, but sometimes life guides us to forks in the road that we simply must take.

Those of us who know Jana well understand that journalism will be a constant guide, support system and form of expression for her ... and that her connection to the DNT newsroom will remain steadfast.

On Monday morning, it will feel strange to see her cubicle empty and know that our good friend is working at another job in another part of town. And it's nearly impossible to imagine that someone else will be sitting there one day. But thanks to Jana's multi-dimensional approach to journalism, her legacy within the News Tribune newsroom and its published work will continue to resonate with journalists and readers long into the future.

Contact News Tribune Executive Editor Rick Lubbers at (218) 723-5301 or rlubbers@duluthnews.com.