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March 10, 2015 - Issue 10

MNA Legislative Report - March 10, 2015  

The pace at the Capitol continues to intensify, as the session moves rapidly towards the first committee deadline—which is now less than two weeks away.  That’s the date by which all policy bills need to be heard and approved by the committees they must pass through in either the House or the Senate.
MNA is actively working on a wide range of issues that are of interest to our members. Here’s a checklist of the most important and immediate:
Mortgage Foreclosure Notices.  The legislation aimed at better defining where mortgage foreclosure notices should be published is scheduled for another hearing on Wednesday, this time in the House Civil Law Committee.  As originally introduced, the bill (HF 953/SF 1147) used the location of a newspaper’s known office of issue as the primary factor in determining which publications were presumptively qualified to publish the notices.  But our ongoing discussions with various interested parties (including the attorneys who do most of the foreclosure work in the state) have caused MNA to conclude that rather than using the known office of issue, a better approach would be to simply refer to the newspapers listed by the Secretary of State as being legally qualified.  That approach comes with its own set of issues, but they are probably not as complex as those related to using the known office of issue.  However, if adopted, it is going to require that MNA work with the Secretary of State’s office so that only newspapers in compliance with the statutory requirements for legal qualification appear on the list. The Secretary of State’s office has assured us that they are willing to cooperate with MNA in this effort.
Anti-Insurance Fraud Bill.  Last week, we succeeded in persuading the proponents of a bill (HF 864/SF 782) that seeks to deter insurance fraud to remove the provision that we had strongly objected to, which stated that public law enforcement incident data would not be accessible for 30 days after it was collected.  Based on our negotiations, an amendment was adopted in the Senate Commerce Committee on Monday that replaced this provision with one that temporarily restricts the commercial solicitation of individuals who have been involved in motor vehicle accidents.  We don’t have a problem with that alternative.
Sample Ballot Publication.  A group called the Minnesota County Officers Association is promoting a bill (SF 1500) that would eliminate the publication of sample ballots.  They argue that the publication is not very meaningful, especially in more densely populated areas where it’s virtually impossible to publish a sample ballot really resembling the actual ballot that voters would use on election day.  We are working with the proponents of the bill and others to see if some compromise approach can be developed that eliminates the concerns while retaining the informational benefit of the publication. 
Public Access to Municipal Power Associations.  A long overdue proposal to make municipal power associations subject to the Data Practices Act and the Open Meeting Law has been introduced and is scheduled to be heard later this week in the Senate Judiciary Committee.  The bill (HF 1117/SF 978) would reverse a decision of the Minnesota Supreme Court issued in the late 1990’s, which held that, despite the fact that municipal power agencies are established by local governments, they are not subject to the public access laws.  MNA will be testifying in favor of the bill at the Judiciary Committee hearing.  Chief author of SF 978 is Sen. Kevin Dahle (DFL-Northfield).
Unclaimed Property.  Finally, we continue to work on attempting to come up with acceptable language for legislation that would restore some degree of notice publication covering unclaimed property held by the state.  Currently the effort is bogged down due to the difficulty of developing a reasonable estimate as to what the costs might be for publishing lists of unclaimed property owners throughout the state.  That estimate is critical because the supporters of the bill in the Legislature have told us that there is a finite amount of money that can be appropriated for the publication.
As always, there are also several other important bills that MNA is actively watching and working on as the session moves along.  Those bills are summarized on the legislative tracking list updated weekly by our legislative counsel Sandy Neren.  A copy is available on MNA’s website.
If you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions about our legislative efforts, by all means let us know. Input from members is extremely important and very valuable to us.  

Download the current Legislative Bill Status Report

ONE SPOT left in the 2015 Editors & Publishers Community Leadership Program!

If you're interested in participating in the 2015 Editors & Publishers Community Leadership Program, don't delay! We've got room in the program for one more editor-publisher pair in the 11th program cohort.

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

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...

Mary Liz Holberg is MNCOGI’s 2015 John R. Finnegan FOI Award recipient

The Minnesota Coalition on Government Information is pleased to recognize retired Representative Mary Liz Holberg as this year’s champion of government transparency.

Holberg’s consistent advocacy for government transparency and accountability are among the reasons the Minnesota Coalition on Government Information chose her as the recipient of the 2015 John R. Finnegan FOI Award.

As chair of the Civil Law Committee and the Data Practices Commission, Holberg frequently called representatives of government to task on their failure to comply with the Data Practices Act.

In nominating her for the award, MNCOGI board member Don Gemberling noted Holberg “used her position in the legislature, in committee hearings and elsewhere, to educate the public on a variety of issues and on the importance of holding government accountable through laws advancing and protecting the principles of freedom of 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!

2015 Midwest Journalism Conference

The Midwest Journalism Conference is fast approaching, and the conference planning group has been hard at work planning a great conference for 2015.  Click here to preview the conference schedule and information. Registration information, forms and much, much more can be found on the conference site:  

A  block of rooms has been reserved at the Crowne Plaza MSP Airport Mall of America for conference attendees.  Rooms are only $105.  To ensure that you get the promotional conference rate, please click on the link below and reserve your room by March 17.  Attendees staying at the hotel will enjoy a conference registration discount.

Click here to reserve your hotel room.

Click here for more information or to register.

Journalism’s past, present, future converge at conference in Missouri

The world’s first school of journalism at the first public university west of the Mississippi River will be the setting for the 2015 conference of the International Society of Weekly Newspaper Editors (ISWNE).

Non-members are welcome.

The conference will be June 24-28 at the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute (RJI), part of the Missouri School of Journalism in Columbia.

The University’s journalism history and Columbia’s unusual journalism present -- it has competing daily newspapers -- will be the focus of the conference’s first day with programs and tours of the J-School, the Missouri Press Association office and both the Missourian, the daily published by the School of Journalism, and the family-owned Columbia Daily Tribune, which also prints the Midwest edition of The New York Times.

Thursday features visits to the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum and the National World War I Museum.

Friday is a full day of journalism past, present and future.

Presenters include Mark Horvit, executive director of Investigative Reporters & Editors; the staff of the St. Louis American on “Ferguson – How an African-American weekly covered an international story in its backyard;” Bill Miller Sr. of the twice-weekly Washington Missourian and Hank Waters of the Columbia Daily Tribune, the deans of editorial writing in Missouri; Doug Crews, executive director of the Missouri Press Association, on “Dean Walter Williams and The Journalist’s Creed;” Dr. Clyde Bentley on “Where are we going to get our editorial writers of the future?” and a panel of RJI fellows on their projects that could impact how we cover news in the future.
The editorial critiques – the highlight of every ISWNE conference -- will be Saturdaymorning. The awards banquet is Saturday evening.

Full conference registration is $525, which includes all programs and activities on and off campus, shared-suite housing in College Avenue Residence Hall and most meals from Wednesday lunch to Sunday breakfast.

Friday-Saturday registration is available for editors from Missouri and adjoining states who are unable to attend the full conference. Two-day registration is $159, which includes all programs, activities and meals on Friday and Saturday, except Saturday lunch. Housing is not included in the two-day package.

Two-day registrants may book rooms at Hampton Inn & Suites, just south of campus, for $109 per night only when reservations are placed by phone. Call (573) 214-2222 and use code “ISW” by May 31 for this rate.

The registration deadline is May 13, but early registration is encouraged.

ISWNE was founded in 1955 to encourage and promote high standards of editorial writing, facilitate the exchange of ideas and foster freedom of the press in all nations. It is headquartered at Missouri Southern State University in Joplin.

For more information, contact conference coordinators Gary and Helen Sosniecki at or see for the registration form, schedules and updates.

Learn Valuable Skills for your Newsroom in Upcoming Webinars!

Check out upcoming webinars from Online Media Campus!

Successful Interviewing in Emotional Situations

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...

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...

Live-streamed Event: Dissecting Engagement: What’s working and what’s next?

Some of the media industry’s thought leaders and influencers will be coming together at the Reynolds Journalism Institute at the end of the month to talk about engagement: What’s working and what’s next? In person registration has closed but the event will be will be live streamed so people can enjoy the presentations from the comforts of their offices. 

Engagement. We covet it. We build structures to foster it. We measure it. How do we optimize engagement in a rapidly shifting media ecosystem? We look at metrics: Time spent, click through and bounce rates, sharing, push notifications, geo-location tagging, user generated content, and more, all to foster engagement. But who is developing the most agile and best engagement methods and models? Is it a spectrum, an end point, or an agile process? How do we take these models and apply them to our own efforts to encourage deeper and more loyal engagement? We cull together some of the media industry’s thought leaders and influencers in “Dissecting Engagement: What’s working and what’s next?” 

When: March 30-31

There is no fee to participate, but registration is required.

Who’s speaking? RJI will have guests from Chartbeat, Mather Economics, The Texas Tribune, Al Jazeera, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Hacks/Hackers, The Center for Investigative Reporting, Bloomberg and more…

Click here to learn more

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


Swenson named publisher of Perham, Wadena newspapers
Melissa Swenson, a longtime leader within Forum Communications Company, has been promoted to publisher of the Perham Focus and Wadena Pioneer Journal, company officials have announced.

As publisher, Swenson will oversee all newspaper operations at the two properties. She will split her time between Perham and Wadena.

"I look forward to the opportunities and challenges of my new role as publisher of these two newspapers," Swenson said. "Both of these communities deserve to have strong newspapers that play a vital role in the community, and that is what the staff and I will strive for every week." More...

Warner to serve as managing editor of the Chatfield News
Bluff Country Newspaper Group Publisher Dave Phillips announced that Charlie Warner has been hired to serve as the managing editor of the Chatfield News. Warner begins his duties this week.

Warner will oversee the day-to-day operations of the Chatfield News, will help with government, feature and sports reporting, feature, news and sports photography, as well as editorial writing.

Warner has over 25 years of weekly newspaper experience. He moved to Fillmore County in 1981 when he purchased the Harmony News and Lanesboro Leader weekly newspapers, which he published for nine years. He spent the next decade working in the building trades, where he built homes and commercial buildings in the Harmony-Preston area. More...

Erickson named editor of Wadena Pioneer Journal
Anna Erickson is joining the Wadena Pioneer Journal as editor. She started her journalism career in Wadena as a reporter from 2004-08 and most recently worked as editor of the Park Rapids Enterprise. More...

Moldaschel joins Herald Dispatch team as editor
The Herald Dispatch has hired a new editor, replacing Terri Melheim who has resigned from the position to pursue other opportunities. Deb Moldaschel has lived in Sleepy Eye since the first grade and writing is something that has always held an interest for her whether it be professionally or personally. More...

Cederstrom named Enterprise editor
Kevin Cederstrom is now leading the newsroom staff at the Park Rapids Enterprise.Cederstrom began his duties as editor this month. He comes to Park Rapids from southwestern North Dakota where he worked as a freelance photojournalist for Forum Communications publications and other national and regional media organizations. More...

Member Classifieds

The Montevideo American News is looking for an energetic, hard-working, creative and dedicated person to lead our news team as the editor. More...

News Reporter/Feature Writer 
The Minnesota Lake Tribune, serving the small, south central community of Minnesota Lake, is looking to expand its award-winning coverage by creating the part-time position of News Reporter/Feature Writer. More...

Community Journalist
We’re looking for a talented journalist to join an award winning newspaper staff. More...

General Assignment Reporter
The McLeod County Chronicle in Glencoe, Minnesota, is seeking a full-time general assignment reporter. More...

Advertising Sales Executive
The Marshall Independent is looking for a highly-motivated sales professional to join our team selling print and online advertising. More...

Weekly Newspaper For Sale
Weekly newspaper for sale, 1,700 circulation, town of 840, member of Southwest Peach, modern computer systems, commercial printing, office products. SW Minnesota. More...

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Upcoming Events

Check out upcoming training events from the Local Media Association
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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.

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

MNA Board Meeting
April 9-10

Editors & Publishers Community Leadership Program Retreat
April 16-18
MNA/MNI Event Calendar
MNA/MNI Event Calendar
MNA Member Classifieds
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