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February 17, 2015 - Issue 7

MNA Legislative Report- February 17, 2015  

Another busy week is underway at the Capitol, with several major issues of interest to MNA and its members in play.
Body Cam Data.  On Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee will consider SF 498, which seeks to enact a data classification and preservation framework for audio and video captured by the new “body cam” technology being implemented by many police departments in the state.  As introduced, the bill would make virtually all “body cam” data not public.  MNA opposes this approach, and believes that the body cam data should have the same presumption of public access that most other government records have, especially given the importance of public information about law enforcement actions.  Existing law already contains many classifications of law enforcement data that could be used to protect body cam data that legitimately should not be public.  As a result, MNA believes that the broad classification proposed by the bill goes much too far.  But this is a complex issue, and it’s going to require considerable analysis and negotiation before the bill reaches its final form.  MNA representatives will be appearing to testify on the bill at Thursday’s hearing.
Constitutional Privacy Amendment.  Another set of complex data privacy issues surrounds HF 327 /SF 32, which proposes a Constitutional amendment that--according to the proponents--would close what they claim is a gap in the protections against unreasonable searches and seizures currently found in the state Constitution.  The proponents believe that under existing law, police agencies and others could potentially acquire private and sensitive information stored electronically in the hands of third parties, without being required to observe the constitutional criteria that strictly limit searches and seizures. 
This legislation is supported by an unusually broad coalition of legislators, ranging across virtually all segments of the political spectrum.  MNA has not yet taken a formal position on the bill, but we do have some concerns that an amendment elevating privacy protections to a Constitutional level could have serious unintended consequences in other contexts.  Such an amendment could for example potentially be used by a court to limit public access to government and other kinds of records on constitutional grounds, since most public access rights are established only in statute.  MNA’s legislative team will be actively participating in discussions involving the legislation as it moves forward, focusing on these concerns and examining options for addressing them.
Mortgage Foreclosure Notice Publication. On the public notice front, HF953 was introduced yesterday by Rep. Tim O' Driscoll (R). The bill seeks to clarify some of the ambiguity presently surrounding the issue of where mortgage foreclosure notices should be published. The approach is relatively simple, stating that a mortgage foreclosure notice published in any legally qualified newspaper whose known office of issue is located in the same county as the mortgaged property is a valid publication under the mortgage foreclosure statutes.  There is a major lawsuit in Minneapolis Federal District Court right now involving a challenge to a foreclosure based on the claim that the foreclosure notice was not published in a newspaper with sufficient circulation in the area where the property is located.  If the issue involving the proper location of foreclosure notices becomes further muddied, this bill could provide a vehicle to address that.  It also permits MNA to stay ahead of other parties who may decide to pursue legislation on this topic in a way that could be contrary to the best interests of Minnesota newspapers.
Meeting with SOS Simon on Qualified Newspaper List.  Another public notice issue has MNA representatives meeting this week with Steve Simon, the new Minnesota Secretary of State, to discuss concerns that have been festering for the past few years with respect to the list of qualified legal newspapers posted by the Secretary of State’s office on its website.  A number of problems have been identified with this list, including the fact that some newspapers appearing on the list are not qualified to publish public notices under the criteria found in Chapter 331A of the statutes, as well as the fact that the list doesn’t always include newspapers located in adjoining counties, even though the public notice statutes specify that a qualified newspaper can be in a county adjoining the county where the public notice originates.  The purpose of our meeting with the Secretary of State is to explore options for making the posted list of newspapers more accurate and reliable. 
There are as always a host of other issues percolating at the Capitol being tracked by MNA.  We will do our best to keep you updated as those issues develop, and don’t forget that each week, a Tracking List describing the nature and status of all bills of interest to MNA and its members appears on the MNA website.  Meanwhile, be sure to let us know if you have any legislative questions, concerns, or suggestions. 

Download the current Legislative Bill Status Report
Click Here to View Handouts and Presentations from the 2015 MNA Convention

Apply Now! 2015 Editors & Publishers Community Leadership Program

The Minnesota News Media Institute is pleased to present the 11th 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 2015! To apply, editor-publisher teams interested in being considered for the program should send an email to Lisa Hills at or Sarah Bauer at

Click here to learn more about the 2015 Program

Ad-libs: 9 ways to use numbers in headlines

Whether on a printed page, monitor or mobile device, the headline is the most important part of an ad. It tells the reader what the ad is about. With the blink of an eye, he or she decides whether it’s worth the effort to keep reading.

Numbers can help you create compelling headlines, as long as they are specific and relevant. Here are a few examples. Note that these numbers as expressed as digits, not words:

  1. “Only 6 townhomes left.” Using a specific number, rather than saying “they’re going fast,” communicates proof of scarcity. As sales increase, the countdown should continue. You can also use this technique to indicate time: “Only 8 days left.”
  1. “Save $1,000 on new carpet.” A specific dollar amount is easier to visualize than “a lot.” It’s worth mentioning that this headline works better with a verb (“save”) than with a passive phrase like, “$1,000 discount on new carpet.”
  1. “Save 25 percent on Merino wool sweaters.” This is a variation of the dollar tactic in the carpet headline. The difference is that a percentage indicates proportion. Of course, the body copy should indicate the dollar amounts of the 25 percent.

Newspapers Dropping at USPS Transportation Hubs Should See April Postage Decrease

The U.S. Postal Service has not made it official yet, but the implementation of 2015 postage rates on April 26 should ease the pain for newspapers surprised by a postage increase in January.

The increase hit publishers who had been entering Periodicals mail at the new USPS transportation hubs, where “direct” (5-digit, carrier-route, or mix of both) containers destined for local post offices within the territory of a recently-closed mail processing plant can be dropped for speedier delivery. NNA recommends flats trays (tubs), not sacks, for speediest handling.

The hubs were created by the Postal Service after the National Newspaper Association testified before the Postal Regulatory Commission that the hubs would be needed to avoid unnecessary complications when processing plants closed. The biggest value is moving those “direct” newspaper containers from one 5-digit office to another within the same territory of the former Sectional Center Facility, or SCF. But many members are located at a hub, or print and drop there.

USPS has committed to setting up a hub for this purpose wherever a plant is taken out of service. Closure of 82 more processing plants is expected this calendar year.

The surprise came in January when newspapers using those hubs saw an unannounced postage increase. That was because a grace period to use the previous SCF plant discounts expired and the new rate had not kicked in yet.

NNA Postal Committee Chair Max Heath appealed to USPS that Periodicals copies dropped at the hubs should still earn a Sectional Center Facility discount because they avoid using postal transportation to a more distant plant. The Postal Service has informally confirmed that the SCF discount will be recognized. Publication of the new rate will occur only through PostalOne!, the USPS Business Mail Acceptance software system, he said.

“This is an extremely important discount for us because the contraction of the mail processing network puts so much of our subscriber mail in jeopardy,” Heath said. “We must be able to use these hubs to maximum advantage by entering flats tubs with copies destinating for a local post office within the hub area. Because entering at the hub is a classic form of drop-shipping, publishers should earn the discounted rate. I am glad to learn that a fix for this problem is now in the works.”

Contact: Tonda Rush,

Sunshine Week 2015

This year, the Minnesota Newspaper Association has teamed up with the Minnesota Professional Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists to celebrate Sunshine Week across the state of Minnesota.

Sunshine Week 2015 is coming up and journalists around the nation will participate the week of March 15 through March 21. An annual event, Sunshine Week calls on journalists to shed light on issues of open government and have conversations with their readers about the importance of open and transparent government, whether that government body is a municipality or a large federal agency.

This year, the Minnesota chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, in collaboration with the Minnesota Newspaper Association, is reaching out to newsrooms and student journalists across the state to cover and look into the increasing amount of public work that is being done by private organizations. Private charter schools, surveying firms, even private police forces are being used more and more to conduct business that was once the purview of public officials. College campuses are not immune to this phenomenon either, increasingly relying on private foundations to raise revenue and communicate on behalf of the university or partnering with private companies to handle student services like policing, dining or financial aid.

To contribute to this year’s Sunshine Week event, which we are dubbing #SunshineMN, we are asking professional and student newsrooms around the state to produce at least one story that raises awareness in your community about public work that is being done by private organizations. Our aim is to shed a light on transparency and accountability issues that may arise as a result of these public-private partnerships.

More information - continue reading...

MNA Public Notice Site Training

In 2014, MNA successfully launched an online clearinghouse – an aggregate collection – of Minnesota public notices. Many MNA-member newspapers are up and running on the site, posting public notices weekly - or more often - on the 
At the MNA Convention, MNA Program Director Sarah Bauer lead two sessions for attendees, giving a tour of the site, and providing a hands-on tutorial of the notice-posting process. 

If you've just signed up or 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 Bauer to 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.

Continue reading and sign up today!

Successful Interviewing in Emotional Situations

Check out the upcoming webinar from Online Media Campus!

Thursday, March 26
1:00 – 2:00 p.m.

They are upset.

  • At what just happened that changed their lives.
  • At themselves.
  • At someone else.
  • At you.
  • At anyone.

And you have to interview them.

This webinar can give you tips on how to handle sensitive interviews that even you might rather not have to do, but which are necessary to do your job.

More information and register...

Survey: Community Newspapers Circulation Needs and Opportunities

Community newspapers have strong reader appeal. NNA's readership surveys demonstrate that. But circulation sales and distribution have changed in recent years. NNA wants to know how your company has been affected, and your views on the challenges and opportunities ahead.

If you have more than one title, we would appreciate a response for as many as you have time to identify. If you have time for only one, please choose your best newspaper.

Thank you for your time!

Knight grant will help RJI develop born-digital-news preservation model 


A $35,000 grant from the Knight News Challenge on libraries will help University of Missouri Libraries and the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute develop a long-term model to protect born-digital news content from being lost forever.

Monetizing newspaper content is one approach to saving the nation’s first draft of history, says Edward McCain, digital curator of journalism at MU Libraries and RJI. He will lead the Knight-funded effort to test assumptions about the preservation and monetization of small-newspaper archives.

“Testing the assumptions will help determine if small newspapers can monetize content by licensing it for use by researchers,” says McCain, who also helms the Journalism Digital News Archive initiative at MU.

Assumptions to be tested include:

  • News archives from small newspapers have value.
  • Researchers are interested in accessing content from small newspapers.
  • Small newspapers are interested in knowing more about the content held in their archives.
  • Content analysis will help the team understand what’s contained in born-digital news archives.
Continue reading...

2015 Murrow Press Fellowship

The Council on Foreign Relations is seeking applicants for the 2015–2016 Edward R. Murrow Press Fellowship

Application Deadline: March 1, 2015

Launched in 1949 with support from the Carnegie Corporation, the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) Edward R. Murrow Press Fellowship seeks to promote the quality of responsible and discerning journalism that exemplified the work of Edward R. Murrow. In 1965, the program was renamed in his honor and is supported by the CBS Foundation and Ford Foundation. One CFR resident fellowship is awarded each year to a distinguished foreign correspondent or editor.
The Edward R. Murrow Press Fellow spends nine months full-time in residence at CFR’s headquarters in New York. The program enables the fellow to engage in sustained analysis and writing, expand his or her intellectual and professional horizons, and extensively participate in CFR’s active program of meetings and events. The fellow will be part of the David Rockefeller Studies Program, CFR’s think tank, alongside the program’s full-time, adjunct, and visiting fellows, whose expertise extends across the broad range of significant foreign policy issues facing the United States and the international community.

More info and application details...

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Member Classifieds

Editor / Staff Writer
The Sleepy Eye Herald-Dispatch seeks an experienced editor/staff writer with a proven track record and excellent management skills in developing a two-person staff and overseeing the production of a weekly newspaper, niche products and corresponding website and social media. More...

Staff Writing Position
Southern Minnesota weekly newspaper with a circulation of over 3,000 is seeking a staff writer. More...

Outside Sales Representative
Newly created full-time advertising sales position in Central Minnesota. Looking for an aggressive, independent person that can manage a sales territory without a lot of supervision. More...

Outside Sales Representative
Love Dairy? We are looking to add a motivated advertising sales representative to our staff to call on dairy businesses accounts in central Minnesota.  More...

Editor Needed
Editor needed for an award-winning newspaper group. This position – editor of the Jordan Independent – requires a journalist with demonstrated experience that includes reporting, photography, video, social-media and multi-platform work. More...

The St. Cloud Times is looking for a producer with strong copy editing and digitial skills to provide sophistication and polish to presentation and storytelling in a digital-first environment.  More...

Page1 Printers Seeking pressman who operates non-heat set web printing press and crew. More...

Circulation Manager
The Marshall Independent is seeking a hands-on Circulation Manager to lead our team and manage all aspects of our circulation department. More...

Heidelberg windmill letterpress
For Sale: Original Heidelberg windmill letterpress with plenty of lead; Challenge model EH3 3-head paper drill; Bunn Packaging Tying Machine; Carlson band tying machine.  More...

Weekly Quick Clicks

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12 front pages from 12 cold places around the U.S.
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Upcoming Events

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

Sunshine Week
March 15-21

NNA’s We Believe in Newspapers Leadership Summit
March 18-19

Webinar: Successful Interviewing in Emotional Situations
March 26 | 1-2 p.m.

MNA Board Meeting
April 9-10

Editors & Publishers Community Leadership Program Retreat
April 16-18
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