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Happy Sunshine Week

This week is an annual celebration of the public's right to know! Launched in 2005, Sunshine Week has grown into an enduring annual initiative to promote open government and push back against excessive official secrecy. Newspapers, citizens and open government advocates from across the country are leading nationwide discussions about the critical importance of access to public information.

Our guest column, written by John Bodette is available below for you to publish in your newspaper and on your website. If you publish additional editorials or other features this week, please share them with us! We are featuring your work on Twitter and Facebook all week.

MNA Legislative Report - March 14, 2017

With the first policy committee deadline now in the rear view mirror, legislators continue to grind away at a wide range of legislative issues, big and small. A number of them include items of interest to MNA.
Bills not approved by last Friday’s first committee deadline now have a much diminished prospect for enactment this session. The good news is that none of the measures which were of primary concern to MNA this year were endorsed in a policy committee prior to the arrival of the committee deadline.
At least for now, most of the proposals which are still active and that have some potential to negatively impact MNA and its members involve relatively minor issues. In other words, there are no big problem bills that we’re currently contesting--though there are many weeks left in the 2017 session, and we aren’t resting on our laurels. 
One distinctly positive development in the past few days—thanks to the good work of Sen. Carrie Ruud (R-Breezy Point)—is restoration of a publication requirement in the Senate that had been removed on the House side. SF 1123/HF 1292 includes a provision dealing with the authority of the Department of Natural Resources to sell timber resources on public land. Current law requires that notice of a proposed sale be published in local newspapers, but the House bill removed that requirement. Sen. Ruud put it back. We salute Sen. Ruud for recognizing that this kind of issue can be important to residents, and without local published notice, significant timber sales could occur before they learned about them.
Several bills dealing with access to government records and meetings continue to move along the legislative assembly line as well.  Among them is SF 1714/HF 1105, which would amend the Open Meeting law to provide that any gathering of a quorum of a public body is subject the Open Meeting law, regardless of what is being discussed. The proposal was approved March 9 by the House Government Operations Committee and sent to the floor. No action has occurred yet on the Senate file. 
A bill (SF 1719/HF 1185) that would extend the time in which government agencies must retain emails (in this case for at least three years), has been approved by two House committees and is now waiting to be heard by the House State Government Finance Committee. And a bill (SF 1718/HF 1544) that would require government agencies to be more specific in citing the statute they claim allows government data to be withheld was recently approved in the House Civil Law Committee and then wrapped into the omnibus Data Practices bill for further action. 
Unfortunately, a bill (HF 1316) aimed at clarifying public access to surveillance recordings obtained by government agencies looks like it won’t be approved this year. As amended, the bill specifies that surveillance recordings obtained in locations normally accessible to the general public must be treated as public data, regardless of whether government employees can be seen in the recordings. It appears that concerns raised by some public employee groups have sidetracked the bill.
There are also a number of additional bills involving public access issues that weren’t introduced until shortly before the first committee deadline, and that probably won’t receive much attention from the Legislature this year. They include SF 1717/HF 2038, which would require disclosure of any remuneration received by government employees from private sources relating to their public employment; SF 1976, which would expand public access to certain facets of the legislative process, increase financial disclosure requirements for public officials, and broaden reporting requirements with respect to lobbying; HF 2295, a bill seeking to clarify accessibility requirements for public data (including electronic information accessibility standards); and SF 1882, which would prohibit the use of state funds to expand audio and video coverage of criminal court proceedings.
Again this year, the Uniform Defamation Act has been introduced, SF 2033/HF 1873. MNA supports the measure, but it hasn’t been assigned a high priority because it likely wouldn’t have much real effect on defamation litigation, while requiring substantial resources to move through the Legislature.
MNA’s legislative representatives will continue to carefully monitor and manage to the best of their ability all items of legislation that could have an impact MNA’s members. Meanwhile, if you have any questions or concerns about the legislative campaign, please be sure to let us know.

Click to view MNA's Legislative Bill Status Report

Sunshine Week Guest Column by John Bodette

Any newspapers are welcome to publish this guest column commissioned by MNA and written by John Bodette. Click here for a full toolkit of additional resources including editorial cartoons.

St. Cloud

Welcome to Sunshine Week, a national effort to promote openness in government.

Sunshine Week is brought to you by the American Society of News Editors and Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.

When we are experiencing “fake news,” “alternative facts,” frequent falsehoods and efforts to label journalists as “enemies of the people,” there is no better time to shine the light on government.

While I was executive editor of the St. Cloud Times, we did several in-depth reports on how citizens could access public information. The Times did reporting projects to request public information from city and county governments, including law enforcement, to make sure information that is required to be public was readily made available.

But rather than directing this column to the journalists who work hard to serve their communities, I want to ask all citizens to take part in Sunshine Week.

Most people don’t realize the wealth of information that is not only available to the public, but required by law to be provided.

Do you want a copy of your school superintendent’s employment contract? Ask for it. It is public.

Want to know who is in your county jail? You should be able to access the information online or request a list from local law enforcement.

Want a copy of your city or county budgets? Ask for it. Those are public records.

My best advice has always been to assume, with a few exceptions, that anything having to do with government actions is public. Some personnel matters and most juvenile court records aren’t public. But so many other documents are open. For example: Expense records for government officials are public. Government contracts with private companies and individuals are public.

Another good source of information are the legal notices published in daily and weekly newspapers, also required by law in many cases.

Need help on answering questions on whether information is public?

The state Department of Administration’s Information Policy Analysis Division is where to turn.

IPAD’s primary mission is to offer help and consultation on the Data Practices Act, the Open Meeting Law and other information policy state laws. The agency answers questions from residents, governments and groups and businesses interested in public records. You can find them here:

This is the time for all citizens to demand open access to government information. Transparency in government makes for stronger communities.

I think the Washington Post has hit the target by placing under its front page masthead the words “Democracy dies in the darkness.”

There is no better time to bring transparency to government at all levels than during Sunshine Week.

John Bodette recently retired as executive editor of the St. Cloud Times and Times Media.

Click here to view on the MNA website

Apply Now to the 2017 Editors & Publishers Community Leadership Program!

The Minnesota News Media Institute is pleased to present the 13th year of the Editors & Publishers Community Leadership Program. Funded in part by a generous grant from the Blandin Foundation, the program was founded in 2005 and modeled after the successful Blandin Community Leadership Program.

Annually, MNI recruits editor-publisher teams who want to develop their community leadership and vision skills. The program encourages newspapers to develop and strengthen social capital within their communities, to learn of the power they have to frame issues and mobilize action and ultimately helps them to advance the health and vibrancy of their communities.

Program participants gain inclusive access to the program, including tuition, meals, and lodging. All costs are covered by the Minnesota Newspaper Association, the Minnesota News Media Institute and the Blandin Foundation.

Each year, eight newspapers are selected to participate in the Editors & Publishers Community Leadership Program. We are currently accepting applications for those interested in participating in 2017! To learn more and to apply, editor-publisher teams interested in being considered for the program should send an email to Lisa Hills at or Sarah Jackson at

Click here to download 2017 program info

Click here to learn more about the program

2017/18 MN Newspaper Directory Print RFP

We're in the process of preparing the 2017/18 MN Newspaper Directory. If you would like to submit a print bid based on the specs below, please contact Dan Lind at

The deadline to submit a bid for review and consideration is April 1st, 2017.

Full color advertising opportunities in the print and electronic version are available. Premium space is limited. Please contact LuAnn Yattaw at for more details.  

80 pages + 4 Page Cover
8-1/4" x 10-3/4" Finished Size
Perfect Bind
Cover - 10PT C1S Cover - 4/4 + Varnish
Text - 50# Offset, White - 4/4 All Pages
Mail Prep - Polybag and Inkjet Slip Sheet (350 copies)
Freight Delivery to Minneapolis (550 copies)
Box and Skid Pack
Quantity: 900

Use of "March Madness" and "Final Four"

Both the words “March Madness” and “Final Four”” and the logos are trademarks. While they can be used in editorial copy, you must pay licensing fees to use them in conjunction with any advertising promotion.

The NCAA is very aggressive in tracking down violations, and employs “spotters” to look for unauthorized uses of the words or logo. Even a seemingly innocuous reference to a March Madness sale is in violation if proper fees are not paid.

A merchant selling products that have already been licensed by the NCAA can promote the sale of these items in advertising, provided the appropriate wording is used. 

If you have any questions, contact the MNA office.

Student Survey for Media Pros

San Diego State University graduate students are asking for a few minutes of your time to complete a survey about your experience with PR professionals. This few minutes of your time will greatly contribute to the success of our academic research, as well as, contribute to the professionalization and expansion of knowledge to the profession as whole.

Visit this link to take survey:

This survey will take less than 15 minutes. Participation in this research study is strictly anonymous. The study is open to professional journalists, broadcasters, photojournalists, editors, or similar, over the age of 18. The deadline is March 22.

(For more information about this study, or to receive the results of this study, you may contact me by phone at 303-883-0602 or via email at If you have any questions about the rights of participants in this study, you may contact the Division of Research Affairs at San Diego State University (telephone: 619-594- 6622; email: At any time during the research you can contact the IRB for questions about research rights, to discuss problems, concerns, or suggestions, or to offer input.)

Jamie C. Seibel, Graduate Student
San Diego State University
School of Journalism & Media Studies​

Call for Nominations for the Amos, McKinney & Phillips Awards

Every year, the National Newspaper Association announces the Call for Nominations for the Amos, McKinney & Phillips Awards, which are the highest honors awarded to working and retired newspapermen and women who have exhibited distinguished service to the community press.
The General James O. Amos Award was established in 1938 by E.C. Amos, publisher of The Sidney Daily News, to honor his father, General James O. Amos, a pioneer Ohio journalist and an early-day member of the National Editorial Association.
The Emma C. McKinney Award was created in 1966 to honor Emma C. McKinney, co-publisher and editor of the Hillsboro (OR) Argus for 58 years. In 1954 Mrs. McKinney was named dean of Oregon newspapermen and women and in 1957 received the Amos Voorhies Award, the highest state honor that can be awarded to an Oregon newspaper person. Mrs. McKinney was inducted into the Oregon Journalism Hall of Fame in 1982.
The Daniel M. Phillips Leadership Award was established in 2007 to honor Daniel Morris “Dan” Phillips, an award-winning writer and photographer who passed away in 2005 at the age of 47.

All nominations are due May 15, 2017.
For more information and forms:

Essentials of Digital Media

April 26, 2017

Minnesota Magazine Publishers Association is extending its member rate to MNA members for the MMPA Essentials of Digital Mediaa course that will help increase online revenue by expanding your digital sales knowledge and skill. 

Essentials of Digital Media course goes beyond the basics and covers the topics and issues necessary to understand how digital media is valued and transacted. This course is an absolute requirement if your work involves understanding the assets, terminology, and best practices for how digital media is bought and sold, how it is measured, and how to value media to achieve campaign and client objectives.

This course provides the concepts and best practices that will dramatically and immediately improve your job performance.  Plus, all students will receive a certificate of completion and earn credit hours that can be applied for anyone wishing to study for and pass the IAB Digital Sales Certification Exam.

Registration & Cost:
The cost to attend this all-day course is separate from the Summit & Expo registration fee, but will also be held at McNamara Alumni Center.

  • MMPA and MNA Members: $399
MNA Members are being offered a special discount to attend the MMPA Summit & Expo Revenue Track.  MNA members must create an account and complete the online registration form as normal. Input the discount code "Summit17_MNA" on the summary page to save $100 on the Revenue Track registration!

More information and register online

Midwest Journalism Conference: Registration Now Open, Updated Schedule Available

Journalists from across the Midwest will gather for two days of training sessions, awards ceremonies and networking March 31-April 1, 2017 at the Crowne Plaza MSP Airport at 34th Avenue South and American Boulevard in Bloomington, Minnesota.

Along with the founding partners of the Midwest Journalism Conference, including the Midwest Broadcast Journalists Association, Region 6 of the Society of Professional Journalists, the Minnesota Associated Press, the Upper Midwest Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, the National Press Photographers Association, the Radio Television Digital News Association/Foundation and the University of Minnesota, we have now teamed up with local chapters of the Asian American Journalists Association, the Online News Association, the National Association of Black Journalists, as well as the American Copy Editors Society. All of our partner groups help to produce training sessions, invite their members to take part in the conference, and enjoy the fellowship of friends old and new. As always, the Midwest Journalism Conference provides national-caliber training seminars at a fraction of the price of national conferences, along with prestigious awards programs, all within driving distance from anywhere in our six-state service area.

Click here for more info and to register...

Google and Facebook: New tools to enhance storytelling, reach and engage local audiences

Both Google and Facebook have created – and continue to develop – tools to help journalists, including those in the smallest news organizations, do better work, improve workflow issues and track results.

Plan now to join your peers April 6 to 8 at the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute on the beautiful campus of the University of Missouri in Columbia. During this latest edition of the Walter B. Potter Sr. Conferences you’ll learn how community news organizations – weeklies, small dailies and their websites – can reach deeper into their audiences, and grow their audience with new opportunities created with tools from Google and Facebook.

Register by March 31 to attend.

Click for more information and to register...

2017 John R. Finnegan FOI Award Ceremony

When: Thursday, March 16, 2016, 12:00pm – ­1:00pm
Where:  Minneapolis Central Library, Pohlad Hall, 300 Nicollet Mall, Mpls, MN 55401

The award will be presented at MNCOGI’s annual Freedom of Information Day event Thursday, March 16 from noon to 1 pm, at Minneapolis Central Library’s Pohlad Hall, 300 Nicollet Mall.

Tony Webster to receive John R. Finnegan Freedom Of Information Award

Tony Webster, a self-proclaimed “web engineer, public records researcher, and policy nerd” wins this year’s Finnegan FOI Award. As a private citizen, Webster exercises the Data Practices Act with a rigor that rivals, and often supersedes, that of professional journalists and researchers. Webster’s requests concern data across a range of topics, including government surveillance, housing fraud, restaurant inspection data, and government responses to protests. Webster publishes much of the government data he receives on his website, optimized to be discovered by search engines. This has led to the data being used in the reporting of professional journalists.  Using his website,, and tweets, @webster, Webster  regularly works to increase public access to government data via tools, reporting, and his own experience. “Tony Webster is a shining example of the power of a single individual to make government more transparent and hold it accountable,” said MNCOGI chair Gary Hill.

Patrice McDermott’s keynote “Secrecy and Accountability – Looking Forward, Looking Back”

As Executive Director of, Dr. McDermott aggressively promotes their mission “to advance the public’s right to know and to reduce unnecessary secrecy in government.” Her remarks will reflect sixteen years of working in Washington, D.C. through several administrations in the face of unpredictable and often difficult challenges. She is the author of Who Needs to Know? The State of Public Access to Federal Government Information.  In 2011 she received the James Madison Award from the American Library Association in recognition of her work to champion, protect, and promote public access to government information and she was inducted into the National Freedom of Information Act Hall of Fame in 2001.

Click here for more info...

Don't forget: Upload your public notices today!

In 2014, MNA successfully launched its online clearinghouse of Minnesota public notices. Since then, 120 MNA member newspapers have posted more than 35,000 public notices on the site. 

Now, MNA has developed a series of house ads you can use to promote in your newspaper and on your website. 
If you haven't started posting your public notices yet, and are interested in getting started, MNA will provide training and support. We are available to answer questions and walk you through the process of posting your notices. Please contact Sarah Jackson to sign up and also set up training for you or your staff - there are a variety of options, in person, by phone or Google Hangout. 

Our goal is to have 100% participation by MNA member newspapers and we're getting closer every day. Please sign up today, or give us a call to learn more about the site.

Click here for more info and to view/download ads!

Farm to Table: Where Your Food Comes From

There are just 2 million farms in the U.S. that help feed the world. Everybody eats, so why has food become fraught with controversy? Over four days, journalists will learn about food labeling, growing methods, GMOs, pesticide and herbicide use, agriculture research, antibiotics, organics, sustainability and government policy. Included will be field trips to DuPont Pioneer’s research facility and a high-tech hog facility. This free, four-day program will be held May 14-17 in Des Moines, Iowa.

The journalist training is May 14-17, 2017, in Des Moines.

Deadline to apply: Monday, March 20, 2017

The all-expenses-paid fellowship covers airfare, ground transportation, hotel costs and most meals. NPF offers this professional development opportunity for journalists to enhance skills, increase knowledge and recharge their reporting on one of today’s most critical issues. This program is for U.S. based journalists only.

Funding for this training is provided by DuPont Pioneer, the National Pork Board, the American Farm Bureau Federation and Organic Valley.

Click here for more information and to apply

Upcoming Online Media Campus Training

Check out the upcoming webinar from Online Media Campus!

Engaging Readers Through Your Editorial Page

Thursday, March 23
1:00 – 2:00 p.m. 

Award-winning editorial writer Michael Smith of the Spartanburg (S.C.) Herald-Journal explains how he crafts his editorials, and offers pointers for keeping the community conversation vibrant, all while maintaining a fast-paced newsroom.

More information and register...

Communicating and Collaborating Across Generations

Thursday, April 20
1:00 – 2:00 p.m. 

Does your workplace look like your last family picnic?
Does your customer and co-worker look and act different than 10 years ago?
Do you experience challenges working with others from different generations?

If you answered yes to these questions, then this practical, real-life situational seminar is for you!

With the country’s changing demographics – the workplace is different than five, 10 and 15 years ago. This program will help you understand not only yourself, but the other generations, and give you specific tips on how to be more successful with a diverse workplace. You will leave with a renewed sense of your working relationships.

Learning objectives for the day:

– Understanding the different generations
– Old School, Baby Boomers, Gen X, Millenniums or Gen Y
– Techniques on creating a more productive workplace
– How to communicate effectively with each generation
– Techniques on what motivates each generation

More information and register...

If you have news to share in the MNA Tradewinds,
please email us:

‘Life Is An Adventure:’ Pelican Rapids Newspaper Owners Become Fort Myers Restaurateurs

FORT MYERS, Fla. – Jeff and Julie Meyer, lifelong Minnesotans, were tired of dealing with winter and in a position to move to Florida and still run the multiple weekly newspapers in which they are partners. So four years ago they bought a home on a canal in Cape Coral and, with their youngest son, moved from Pelican Rapids to the sunny southwest coast of Florida.

They are both in their 50s and the intent was to stay involved in newspapers while advancing toward retirement. A couple of years ago, however, they learned that a restaurant at the busy intersection of Cypress Lake Drive and McGregor Blvd., the Stillwater Grille, was for sale.

“We decided to try out a new venture,” Julie said. “Wouldn’t it be fun to own a restaurant? That’s what a lot of people say, I think. We just didn’t expect it to be here in Florida. But here we are. Continue reading...

Free Exhibit - Carver County
The Carver County Historical Society is opening a free exhibit on March 31, about the history of newspapers in Carver County. MNA members are invited to attend to share printing and publishing stories. The opening is from 2:00-4:30 p.m. with a short program at 2:30 p.m.

Carver County Historical Society
555 W. 1st Street
Waconia, MN 55387

Daily Journal names Zach Stich managing editor
Zach Stich, 31, has been named managing editor of the Fergus Falls Daily Journal. Stich has been the sports editor of the Daily Journal since May 2012.

“For most of my working life, the Daily Journal has been my home. I started as a paperboy when I was 10-years-old, was a sports stringer my senior year of high school and through my time at the junior college,and I returned in 2010 as a sports editor. I took a little hiatus after my wife and I moved, but returned, eager to get back to what I had enjoyed. After spending so much time in the Fergus Falls and surrounding communities, I am looking forward to the opportunity of presenting the local news to the community,” Stich said. More...

Member Classifieds:

Managing Editor
Managing Editor wanted to join our team that produces Snow Goer magazine, the No. 1 magazine in North America covering the great sport of snowmobiling. More...

Advertising Manager
The Marshall Independent is looking to hire a dynamic, creative sales manager to provide leadership in our advertising department. More...

The Sentinel of Fairmont, Minnesota, is seeking a full-time news reporter. The Sentinel is published six days per week. More...

The Mille Lacs Messenger in Isle Minnesota is looking for a full-time or part-time reporter. The ideal candidate will love to write a human interest story about a local artist, a feature story about fishing the big lake, cover a city council or school board meeting, take photos and post stories to our website and social media. More...

The La Crosse Tribune is looking for a reporter who loves watchdog journalism and good storytelling that connects the functions of government with people’s lives. More...

The Winona Daily News is seeking an editor who will continue our heritage of strong local coverage and community leadership. More...

Access to the MNA Member Classifieds Page is free to MNA members.  To submit an ad, please click the “Submit a Job Posting” or “Submit a For Sale/Wanted Posting” buttons on the Member Classifieds page.  MNA Members are also encouraged to post ads for available internships (submit as a Job Posting).  Non-members may send an ad by e-mail to:  The charge for non-members to place ads is $25 per week (payable by check or credit card).  If you have any questions, please email or call MNA: or 612-332-8844.

NOTE:  Once jobs are filled, or For sale/Wanted postings expired, please ask MNA to remove your post from the Member Classifieds. You can send an e-mail to

Weekly Quick Clicks

Guide to Objection Handling: 40 Common Sales Objections & How to Respond
(Courtesy of HubSpot)

Local Edition: Take your vacation, invest in your staff, acknowledge good work and other tips for avoiding burnout
(Courtesy of Poynter)

Stop Pointing Fingers and Start Making Sales
(Courtesy of Customer Think)

5 Deadly Email Sales Prospecting Mistakes You're Probably Making
(Courtesy of Entrepreneur Online)

NEVER Say This To A Prospect On A Sales Call…
(Courtesy of MTD Sales Training)

3 Easy Ways to Show Loyalty to Your Sales Customers
(Courtesy of Media Sales Today)

Exit interview with Mike Pride, retiring administrator of the Pulitzer Prizes
(Courtesy of Poynter)

Sunshine Week celebrates the public's right to know
(Courtesy of Star Tribune/AP)

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Upcoming Events

Check out upcoming training events from the Local Media Association
Discounted rates for MNA Members!

Sunshine Week
March 12-18

Engaging Readers Through Your Editorial Page
March 23

Midwest Journalism Conference
March 31-April 1

Communicating and Collaborating Across Generations
April 20

Editors & Publishers Community Leadership Program Retreat
April 20-22

MNA Board Meeting
April 27-28
MNA/MNI Event Calendar
MNA Member Classifieds
This Week's Network Ads
Recent Press Releases
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