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April 7, 2015 - Issue 14

MNA Legislative Report - April 7, 2015

 
Legislators have returned to the Capitol after their ten day Easter-Passover break, and with only about six weeks left in the 2015 session must still confront a number of challenging budget and tax issues.  Among the big financial items yet to be negotiated between Democrats and Republicans are how to fund major transportation spending and what should be done with the multi-billion dollar projected surplus in the state budget.  
 
Most of the work in legislative policy committees had to be completed by March 27.  Going forward, some policy bills will still receive attention, but much more legislative effort will be invested in committees whose primary jurisdiction relates to tax and spending proposals.
 
Over the remaining weeks of the session, MNA will continue to actively engage with the 50 or so bills that now appear on MNA’s legislative tracking list, as well as addressing the new issues that will inevitably come up.  Right now, our highest priorities are:

1.    Legislation that would add to state law a provision specifying where published mortgage foreclosure notices should appear (SF 1147/HF 953).

2.  A bill that would improve the procedures for locating owners of unclaimed property held by the state.  This includes restoring publication in newspapers of lists of unclaimed property owners (SF 1645/HF 1693).
 
3.  A measure that seeks to comprehensively regulate the audio and video data collected by “body cameras” used by law enforcement officers, which is likely to expand rapidly over the next few years (SF 498/HF 430).  Among the proposed regulations found in the bill is a broad classification providing that most audio and video files captured by body cameras would not be accessible to the public.  We believe that this classification is much too restrictive.
 
A summary of the full slate of bills that MNA is currently working on at the Capitol appears on the MNA Bill Status Report (or Tracking List), found on the MNA website.  In next week’s Bulletin, we’ll resume detailed reports on MNA’s legislative activities.
 
As always, we very much welcome any questions, concerns, or suggestions that members might have.

Download the current Legislative Bill Status Report

2015/16 MNA Newspaper Directory
Print RFP


If you would like to submit a bid to print the upcoming MN Newspaper Directory, please contact Dan Lind at dan@mna.org to request project specs.

The anticipated volume is 600-750 copies at 100-136 pages, perfect bound.

The State Found Your Lost Wallet, But We Aren’t Going to Tell You

State Holds Record $650 Million in Lost Funds with No Requirement to Tell Owners

Op-Ed by Rep. Joe Atkins
March 31, 2015

When I got the list of my constituents with unclaimed property being held by the State of Minnesota two months ago, I was astonished at the amount – a staggering $7 million in lost funds belonged to families from my House district of 39,500 people. I naturally assumed the people on the unclaimed property list would be hard to find, since some insurance company, bank or past employer had been unable to locate the person with unclaimed property. Boy, was I wrong. It was a walk in the park to find the owners of unclaimed property. Over the course of three weeks, allotting a mere 10 minutes per day, I located and notified local residents with over $303,000 in unclaimed funds. That’s in excess of $100,000 per hour.

Statewide, the total amount of unclaimed or lost property being held by Minnesota’s Department of Commerce is mind-blowing – a record $650 million â€“ almost three times as much as it was a mere decade ago. This represents a whopping $125 in unclaimed funds for every one of Minnesota’s 5.2 million citizens.

However, what I learned next is what really surprised me.

Minnesota law does not require the Department of Commerce to take any affirmative steps to find owners. So the money just sits there. And sits there. And grows in the State’s coffers.

To me, what the State is doing is like finding a lost wallet full of cash, with an ID in it, but not calling the owner to let him know you found his wallet.

In my 180-minute experiment to find local folks with lost or unclaimed property, I found three things most owners had in common. First, the owners were amazingly easy to find, often as a result of a quick Google or address search. Second, most owners were completely unaware they had lost funds being held by the State. Many owners were children of deceased parents who had bank accounts or insurance proceeds. Some had changed jobs and been entitled to additional pay or benefits. Finally, almost none of the owners were aware of the State’s current one-prong effort to reunite them with their funds via a website called www.MissingMoney.com.

The State’s current effort using www.MissingMoney.com is the online equivalent of occasionally stapling a sign to a utility pole saying we found a lost wallet. Even though we know the name of the owner and his or her last known address, the State waits for the owner to find us using the website.

To its credit, the Minnesota Department of Commerce does take the website on the road. For example, it sets up computer stations for 10 days in the Education Building at the State Fair where Minnesotans can type in their names to find out if they have lost funds.

I believe we have a responsibility to do more, especially since we know the name and address of the owner.

To help reunite people with the property that’s owed to them, I have introduced HF 1693, which will bring an entirely different approach to the effort. This bill would address this problem by doing three things:

First, my legislation would expand on an old-fashioned idea that worked well, running ads in local newspapers listing the names of local folks with unclaimed funds. In South Dakota, which still does it this way, they get hundreds of calls per day for weeks after ads run in local papers.

Second, the legislation would call on the Department of Commerce to reach out to owners of lost property, most of whom are easy to find and are unaware they have unclaimed funds. This could be done by current staff, by interns, or by volunteers, whatever works. But it needs to be done. To the extent there are modest costs associated with doing so, there is no need to look to taxpayers to pay for this effort. The Department testified it could use unclaimed funds currently coming in from insurance companies that cannot be tied to any particular owner and which presently go into the Unclaimed Property Fund.

Finally, my legislation requires the Department of Commerce to provide each legislator with a list of local residents with unclaimed property, so other legislators can alert constituents just like I am doing.

Plain and simple, it is not right for the State to be holding more than half a billion dollars of Minnesotans’ money and not be actively engaged in reuniting people with it. This bill offers a common sense solution to the problem at no additional cost to the taxpayer. It is about time the State do a better job getting wallets back to their rightful owners.

Sincerely,

Rep. Joe Atkins
DFL-Inver Grove Heights
Minnesota House of Representatives
651-296-4192 â€“ rep.joe.atkins@house.mn

CONTACT: Mike Molzahn (651) 296-1774

Ad-libs: Transactional vs. Relational Sales

By John Foust
Raleigh, NC

I was talking to Nick, a long-time ad manager, about the nature of selling. “I agree with the theory that there are two types, transactional and relational,” he said. “As consumers, we have become increasingly transactional. We go to the store, pick out a product, take it to the register, pay for it and take it home – even if the clerk at the register doesn’t bother to say ‘hello.’ Or we shop online, find something of interest, compare prices, click ‘buy’ and wait for delivery.”

Nick explained that organizations that rely on sales – including newspapers – measure success in terms of transactions. How many ads are in the latest edition? How much revenue will those ads produce?

“It’s tempting to see all sales as transactional,” Nick said, “but that would be a huge mistake. The challenge is to be relational in a transactional world. That’s why customer loyalty, which is long term, is more valuable than customer satisfaction, which is sometimes based on single buying experiences.

“It starts with rapport,” Nick said. “I encourage our sales team to find common ground and build from there. Along the way, clients learn that our folks have some marketing savvy. That gives us credibility and makes selling a lot easier.”

Continue reading...

It's Here! 2015 Pohlad Internship Program

MNA is excited to announce the 11th year of the Pohlad Internship Program. Thanks to a generous grant from the Pohlad Family Foundation, MNA is pleased to once again provide members with a program that will help reduce the costs associated with hiring high school-aged summer in-terns. In 2014, we placed 65 interns at member newspapers.

How the program works:

  • You choose a high school student, age 16-19, who will work for your newspaper in any aspect of the business half-time for 10 weeks; recent high school graduates are eligible.
  • Complete an enrollment form stating that you will hire a high school intern and wish to participate in the Summer Youth Employment subsidy program. Forms are available on the MNA website, and can be submitted by mail, fax, or email.
  • College students and relatives of newspaper staff do not qualify for this program.
  • The Pohlad Family Foundation requires that newspapers pay a portion of the intern’s wage to ensure a strong commitment from the participants and recommends an hourly wage of $8.00/hour for interns participating in the program.

Download 2015 Program Application
Download Frequently Asked Questions

V
isit our website for more information and for a 2015 recap...

MNA Public Notice Site Training

 
In 2014, MNA successfully launched mnpublicnotice.com 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 
site.
 
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!

Attend the Midwest Journalism Conference is this weekend! 

The Midwest Journalism Conference is this weekend - April 10-11, 2015 in Bloomington, MN.

The schedule for the 2015 Midwest Journalism Conference has been updated on the conference website, including the schedule at a glance, with detailed program information for each session, complete with our lineup of panelists and presenters to help you come up with some great new ideas to bring back to your newsroom.

Registration for the conference is open using an online registration system.  Please register early to avoid the late registration fee. As always, if you have any questions, please contact the MJC.  

Click here for more information or to register.

Focus on digital story telling coming up: mobile videos + data visualization


Check out upcoming webinars from Online Media Campus!

THURSDAY: 
Mobile Video Editing

Thursday, April 9
1:00 – 2:00 p.m.

Short, timely video is in high demand at all media companies.

Video editing on mobile or on a computer is an important skill for telling good stories. In this 60-minute session, you will learn to quickly edit short form news and entertainment videos using iMovie for iOS8 on the iPhone or iPad.

No matter what device you have or how you plan to edit your video, this session will teach you the most efficient way to edit video stories for multiple platforms.

More information and register...

How to Use Data Visualization Tools

Friday, April 17
1:00 – 2:00 p.m.

Sometimes text and photos aren’t the easiest way for a reader to digest information. Learn how to help your readers relate to data, put information into context and really appreciate the numbers using one of several free online tools that can build graphics and interactives.

More information and register...


If you have news to share in the MNA Tradewinds,
please email us: member@mna.org.


Pine Journal publisher to retire after 21 years
Longtime Pine Journal Publisher Wendy Johnson will meet her final news deadline as she retires following the publication of this week’s issue of the Cloquet-based newspaper. Johnson has served as a reporter, editor and publisher for the Pine Journal and its predecessors for 21 years.

“Wendy will be sorely missed by her staff and the communities in Carlton County,” said Pine Journal Editor Jana Peterson. “We will miss her writing and photos, her gentle humor and her wonderful leadership.” More...


Member Classifieds


Inside Sales Representative
The Echo Press is seeking a creative, organized, energetic and outgoing individual to become a part of our sales team as 32 benefited Inside Sales Professional! More...

Multimedia Sales Consultant
The Morris Sun Tribune is seeking a creative, organized, energetic and outgoing individual to become a part our sales team as Outside Multi-Media Sales Consultant! More...

Multimedia Sales Consultant
The Wadena Pioneer is seeking a creative, organized, energetic and outgoing individual to become a part of our sales team as Advertising Coordinator/Outside Multi-Media Sales Consultant! More...

Sports/Staff Writer
The Sleepy Eye Herald-Dispatch, Sleepy Eye, MN, is accepting applications for sports/staff writer. SEHD seeks an experienced sports/staff writer with a proven track record... More...

Education/Health Reporter
The Bemidji Pioneer, a Forum Communications Company six-day daily newspaper, is seeking an experienced education/health reporter who also can fill in when the editor is absent. More...

STAFF WRITER/NEWS EDITOR
Full-time reporter/photographer/editor needed for Dassel-Cokato newspaper. Duties include top responsibility for all local coverage – meetings, features, events, etc.  More...

Advertising Account Executive
We’re looking for the right candidate to join our dynamic, integrated, world-class sales team and help businesses reach their customers. More...

Publishing for Sale: MN & SD
Publishing for sale in Minnesota and South Dakota. Photos available. More...

Weekly Newspapers For Sale
Strong Weekly and Companion Shopper in Southern Minnesota near Rochester, MN. This one is set to grow with the vibrant economy in the region. More...

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Upcoming Events


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

Mobile Video Editing
April 9 | 1-2 p.m.

MNA Board Meeting
April 9-10

Midwest Journalism Conference
April 10-11

Editors & Publishers Community Leadership Program Retreat
April 16-18

How to Use Data Visualization Tools
April 17  | 1-2 p.m.

Out-Servicing the Competition: Adding value for your customers
April 23 | 1-2 p.m.

See Change Conference
May 13

International Society of Weekly Newspaper Editors Conference
June 24-28
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MNA/MNI Event Calendar
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