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February 28, 2017 - Issue 9

MNA Legislative Report - February 28, 2017

The legislative machinery at the Capitol is in high gear this week, with many, many bills still waiting to be considered by policy committees in the House and Senate, and the first committee deadline now less than two weeks away.
In the past several days, lots of new bills have appeared that have been flagged by MNA as having potential impact on our members.  These include at least 12 separate bills affecting published public notice—some expanding it, others seeking to reduce notice.  In addition, several recent bills deal with access to government records and meetings.  The most important of these measures are summarized below.
Public Notice Bills
Our alarm bells definitely went off when we saw SF 1295 – HF 1344, which would allow local government entities to place public notices on their websites, as an alternative to publishing them in newspapers.  It’s the same bad proposal that’s appeared recurrently over the past 10 years so, as new legislators seem to be persuaded by the illusory siren song from government lobbyists that published public notices cost a lot of money and don’t provide any benefits.  There is good news here, however.  Since this bill was introduced, our chief lobbyist Sandy Neren has talked with Sen. David Osmek (R–Mound), the Senate author, who in response to Sandy’s arguments, said that it was unlikely he would move the bill forward this session.  More good news came from Sen. Dan Hall (R–Burnsville), chair of the committee that would hear the bill—he told Sandy that the committee would not consider the bill this year.  Even better, Rep.Tim O’Driscoll (R-Sartell), chair of the House Government Operations Committee, has told us that he has no plans to hear the bill this year either.  Thus for now, the bill appears to be under control.
Another adverse public notice bill that’s been introduced in the past few days is SF 1476 – HF 1549.  Though not nearly as broad as the bill described above, it would authorize school districts to post school board proceedings only on their websites, dispensing entirely with newspaper publication.  But again, we have good news.  Sandy Neren has talked to Sen. Eric Pratt (R-Prior Lake), the chief Senate author, who told her that he does not intend to pursue the portion of the bill targeting publication of proceedings in light of our concerns.  In addition, the chair of the House committee that would hear the bill—Rep. Sondra Erickson (R–Princeton)—has told Sandy she will not hear the bill in her committee this year.  This proposal would therefore also appear to be sidetracked for now as well.
All of the other public notice bills that we’ve flagged for close attention either expand current notice requirements, or involve relatively rarified contexts.  Nonetheless, we are actively engaged on all of them in an effort to obtain the best possible outcomes.
Although the two major public notice bills described above are obviously unwelcome, our experience with them this session has demonstrated something that is distinctly positive—many legislators, including some holding key positions in the House and Senate, really do appreciate their local newspapers and the value of public notice.  We want to sincerely and publically express our thanks to Sen. Osmek, Sen. Hall, Rep. O’Driscoll, Sen. Pratt, and Rep. Erickson, for their willingness to listen to our arguments in favor of published public notice and their support for the value of such notices to the general public.
Data Practices and Open Meeting Law Proposals
MNA attorney Mark Anfinson testified last week before the House Civil Law Committee in support of HF 1316, a bill aimed at making clear that where government surveillance cameras acquire video or audio of government employees working in areas accessible to the general public, the government agency cannot claim that the video/audio is private personnel data.  While the bill represents an important advance over current law as emerging technology complicates traditional public access rules, the bill is predictably drawing criticism from government groups, and its prospects for passage this year are not especially good.  The bill’s chief author is Rep. John Lesch (DFL-St. Paul).
This week the House Civil Law Committee will hear another bill addressing the issue of retention of emails by government agencies, in this case mandating that emails qualifying as “correspondence” must be retained for at least three years. The bill is HF 1185, and chief author is Rep. Peggy Scott (R-Andover). 
Clarifying the Open Meeting Law is the focus of a bill targeting a long standing and problematic ambiguity with respect to the OML’s application to advisory bodies and committees.  HF 1530 is also authored by Rep. Peggy Scott, and will be heard this week by the House Governmental Operations Committee.  The bill provides that even where advisory committees, groups, or task forces established by a government body are simply advisory, they still must comply with the Open Meeting Law.
Another bill seeking to clarify the Open Meeting Law is HF 1105, which states that any gathering of a quorum of a public body is subject to the Open Meeting Law, regardless of its purpose.  The bill is apparently in response to uncertainty created by an IPAD advisory opinion issued last November, which concluded that the St. Paul school board was not subject to the Open Meeting Law when gathering simply for the purpose of attempting to improve its procedures for working together effectively.  The author of the bill is Rep. Jeff Howe (R-Rockville). 
Unclaimed Property Legislation
Last but not least, this year’s version of the unclaimed property reform legislation continues to move along.  HF 587, authored by Rep. Regina Barr (R-Inver Grove Heights) was approved last week in the House Jobs Committee, and has been laid over for possible inclusion in an omnibus bill.  The legislation includes a provision for publication of newspaper advertising alerting Minnesota residents that they may have unclaimed property held by the state.  No hearing has yet been scheduled on the Senate companion, SF 1304.  MNA is working closely with the House and Senate authors on the bill.
Remember that if you would like a quick and comprehensive update on all bills that MNA’s legislative team is actively engaged with, you can review the Legislative Bill Status Report (or Tracking List) prepared by Sandy Neren.  That list now includes some 50 separate bills.  Also, if you have any concerns, questions, or suggestions with respect to our legislative efforts, please be sure to contact Lisa Hills at MNA or MNA attorney Mark Anfinson at any time.

Click to view MNA's Legislative Bill Status Report

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

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


Did you stop by the Member Services booth at convention and check out MNA's exclusive 150th Anniversary year apparel? We have both men’s and women’s polo shirts and a comfy, unisex, charcoal gray hooded sweatshirt available in many sizes. Represent MNA proudly on casual Friday or on the golf course this spring!

Place your order online by March 1.
Shirts will ship by March 15. 

Click here to shop for 150th Anniversary gear

Sunshine Week Guest Column by John Bodette

Sunshine Week is a annual nationwide celebration of access to public information and what it means for you and your community. It is celebrated March 12-18, 2017 this year.  Plan ahead! Any newspapers are welcome to publish this guest column commissioned by MNA and written by John Bodette.

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

Participate in Sunshine Week 2017

Sunshine Week 2017 is coming up and journalists around the nation will participate the week of March 12 through March 18. 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 look at policies and practices dealing with public information officers.

According to Washington D.C. freelance reporter Kathryn Foxhall, who blogged about the topic on the national SPJ website, there’s been a surge in government offices prohibiting staff from speaking with journalists unless they go through a public information officer.

She argued this silences public employees about sensitive topics. These policies also add a middleman to the equation which can cause massive delays.

According to surveys of journalists, government, science and education reporters confirm the same kinds of problems. And many police reporters say they can rarely or never talk to a police officer without involving a PIO.

Many of these PIOs say they must be injected in the process so reporters talk to the “correct people” or the organization can “complete and accurate information.”

The Minnesota Pro Chapter of SPJ and the Minnesota Newspaper Association are working together this year to highlight and combat the issue. To contribute to this year’s Sunshine Week event, which we are dubbing #SunshineMN, we are asking professional and student newsrooms around the state produce at least one story that raises awareness about the PIOs in your community and the rules that put them between their organization and the public.

Continue reading...

Are you leaving money on the table?

From Reynolds Journalism Institute

4 ways to monetize your e-newsletter

With no silver bullet or obvious funding solution for the future of journalism, our eyes are glued to the horizon for the next great idea. But what if some of those ideas aren’t on the horizon, but right in front of us?

As Freek Staps wrote in his roadmap for media entrepreneurship, “Not every idea has to be a blockbuster. Small successes can also lead to new revenue streams (and a larger scaled transformation in the newsroom).” One of those nonblockbuster opportunities is likely sitting in your inbox right now: newsletters.

If done well, newsletters can inform subscribers while also generating revenue. However, it’s important to know from the outset what the main purpose is. For curators interested in monetizing their newsletter, here are four possible methods to consider:


Newsletters with a high click-to-open rate and a well-defined, loyal audience can be a very attractive place for partners to distribute targeted messaging. Understanding your subscribers can help you identify aligned sponsors who also want to engage that demographic, and will be relevant to your subscribers.

As with any form of sponsorship, it’s paramount to brand and format content clearly. Make sure your subscribers know what’s journalism and what’s not. Gray area here can permanently damage trust between you and your subscribers, who — according to Lucia Moses of Digiday — are likely to be your most loyal news consumers.

Think creatively about how to present sponsored content in a way that your subscribers will be interested in. Rather than automatically defaulting to a sponsored ad, consider what they would want to show up in their inbox. Is it a sneak peek of a new tech product? A message from a CEO about their fall lineup choices? A drawing for two round-trip tickets to paradise? An exclusive discount on tickets to that must-see premiere? Even sponsored content can help you brand your newsletter as a go-to read.


While recruiting an aligned sponsor generally takes relationship building and time, you can begin offering premier paid advertising placement in your newsletter right out of the gate. At Crosscut, we offer two premier reserved ad spots in our morning eNews, a standard solution. But like sponsorship, advertising can be implemented in a variety of ways. For example, the Ann Friedman Weekly includes a dedicated classified section that features opportunities apparently hand-curated for her subscribers.

Continue reading...

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.
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
More information and register online

Upcoming Online Media Campus Training

Check out the upcoming webinar from Online Media Campus!

Best Practices for Public Notice

Thursday, March 2
1:00 – 2:00 p.m. 

The newspaper industry has had a lot of success protecting public notice in the state legislatures, but collectively we’re on the defensive. Our opponents are more motivated than ever and increasingly sophisticated in their arguments. Every newspaper must play a role in this fight. This session will focus on the state of public notice and the best practices that every publisher should follow to help the industry maintain its rightful position as the publisher of official notice of public actions.

More information and register...

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...

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.

Click here for information about reserving a booth at the conference career fair!

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...

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!

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

Lewiston Journal Editor bids farewell after 22 years
Carol Boynton, longtime editor of the Lewiston Journal is leaving her post after 22 years. She writes, "I have enjoyed my job and I love my communities. As of March 1st, I begin a new journey. My youngest turned a teen this month, and my family and I will take a jump into the future that retirement holds. Here's to 22 years with great communities and friends! Thanks for all the memories and the activities that I have been a part of through the years!"

Thief River Falls Publisher Retires
Thief River Falls Times and Norther Watch Publisher Randy Hultgren has announced that he will retire on Feb. 28. Hultgren has been the publisher and part owner of The Times and Northern Watch for the last seven years. Hultgren is and will always be an advocate for northwestern Minnesota and the newspaper industry. In February of 1987, Hultgren became a salesman for the Crookston Daily Times. He became publisher of that newspaper in 1993. In July 2010, he bought into The Times and Northern Watch in Thief River Falls.

Member Classifieds:

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...

FREE Web Press Supplies
All Free. Approximately 70 30# pails of Flint pms cold set web press ink. More...

Mankato Area Weekly
Profitable Mankato area weekly covering growing communities. Great operation for husband/wife team. More...

Freelance Photographer Available

Graphic Designer
Wanted: Gifted Graphic Designer. Proficient in InDesign, Photoshop and Illustrator. Must be able to work under pressure quickly and efficiently while meeting deadlines. 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

The Unexpected Sales Metrics That Predict Your Chances of Closing
(Courtesy of Hub Spot)

Six Ways Marketing Can Shrink the Sales Cycle
(Courtesy of Customer Think)

8 Reasons Why Sales Reps Should Preschedule Cold Calls
(Courtesy of Destination CRM)

11 Quick Tips On Effectively Preparing Your Sales Pitch
(Courtesy of MTD Sales Training)

Gitomer: You Cannot Ignore the Present. It’s Where Your Sales Are!
(Courtesy of Media Sales Today)

Mark Zuckerberg thanks journalists after stop by Alabama newspaper
(Courtesy of Poynter)

Father-son team throw last Independent newspaper after 10 years of delivery
(Courtesy of Marshall Independent)

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Upcoming Events

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

Best Practices for Public Notice
March 2

Sunshine Week
March 12-18

Engaging Readers Through Your Editorial Page
March 23

Midwest Journalism Conference
March 31-April 1

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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