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March 31, 2015 - Issue 13

MNA Legislative Report - March 31, 2015  

 
The pause button has been pushed at the Capitol this week, with the Legislature taking a ten day Easter/Passover break.  Formal action resumes next Tuesday, April 7.  At that point, the focus of legislators will shift to tax and finance committee work, along with processing the many bills that are waiting for action on the floors of the House and Senate.  The second policy committee deadline was last Friday.  It will be difficult for any bill that did not meet the deadline to still be considered this session.  And with the turn of the calendar to April, the constitutional adjournment date for this year’s session is now in sight, which is May 18.
 
So far at least, it’s been a reasonably good session for MNA with respect to those issues of primary concern to our members.  In particular, none of the legislative proposals that would seriously affect public notice, access to government records, or open meetings have obtained traction.  Nonetheless, we will remain active and vigilant until final adjournment. 
 
Status of Specific Bills
 
Return of Unclaimed Property.  Last Wednesday, the Senate Commerce Committee heard and mostly approved a bill promoted by MNA (HF 1693/SF 1645) that would reform the process for returning unclaimed property held by the state to its rightful owners—including the addition of a published notice requirement.  Sen. Jim Metzen (DFL-South St. Paul) efficiently presented the bill to the Committee, which unanimously approved it, though one section of the bill was removed, which calls for adding two new employees at the Department of Commerce who would be mainly responsible for expediting the return of unclaimed property.  The provision does remains in the House bill.  The Senate version now moves to the floor, but the House file must still be heard by the Job Growth Finance Committee.  We very much appreciate Sen. Metzen’s help and leadership on this important issue.
 
Mortgage Foreclosure Notices.  Another bill we’re actively supporting (HF 953/SF 1147), which would clarify where mortgage foreclosure notices should be published, continues to move forward without serious problems and awaits action on the House and Senate floors.  The formula proposed in the bill for determining where foreclosure notices should be published appeared in last week’s Bulletin.
 
Expansion of Anti-SLAPP Statute.  Over the past few weeks, we’ve also been tracking HF 906/SF 1025, which would enhance the protections currently provided in state law for citizens who attempt to procure government action for what they believe to be valid purposes (the so called anti-SLAPP law).  â€œSLAPP” is an acronym for strategic lawsuits against public participation.  The bill was approved last week in the Senate Judiciary Committee, and in the House it’s on the floor after being approved by two separate committees there.
 
Body Camera Data Classification.  The legislation that seeks to establish rules (including data classifications) regarding audio and video recordings obtained by body cameras worn by law enforcement officers (HF 430/SF 498) has moved to the floor in the Senate, but appears to be stalled in the House, where it didn’t get a hearing before the expiration of the committee deadlines.  We continue to oppose the bill in its current form, because it classifies most law enforcement records derived from the use of body cameras as private data.
 
Body Camera Study?  In a related development, a bill was introduced last week in the House (HF 2100) that would establish a body camera task force to pursue a more detailed study of the many complex issues that are generated by the use of these devices.  It’s unclear at this point whether the legislation will be considered yet this year.
 
Restrictions on Automatic Consumer Contract Renewals.  Another bill we’ve been watching with interest over the past couple of weeks is HF1802/SF 1651. The bill would impose certain requirements and restrictions on the use of automatic renewal provisions in consumer contracts, if those contracts are for one year or longer.  The bill received an informational hearing in the Senate Commerce Committee last week, but will apparently not be acted on by either the House or Senate yet this year.  However, it could well get more attention next year.  Our concern is that the restrictions and requirements found in the bill could apply to some newspaper subscriptions.
 
In addition to the items described above, MNA continues to monitor and examine a wide range of other legislation, which is summarized in the Legislative Bill Status Report (or Tracking List) at the MNA website.  The Tracking List continues to grow, and now contains about 50 different bills.  
 
Meanwhile, it’s an excellent time for MNA to hear from its members about their views on any legislative matter, with the Easter/Passover break underway.  If you do have any issues or concerns regarding MNA’s legislative campaign, please contact Lisa Hills at MNA or attorney Mark Anfinson. 

Download the current Legislative Bill Status Report

Pumarlo: Police logs basic to monitoring public safety

Is it necessary that the traffic ticket was reported in the newspaper again, a reader asks. The original citation was published two months ago.

Publication of traffic citations probably generated the most calls during my tenure as editor. No 1, nobody likes being linked with a police report – whether it’s something as common as speeding or something that carries greater notoriety, such as a DWI. No. 2, the offenders get confused – and often angered – between the report of the actual ticket and then the report of the court disposition.

We collected traffic reports regularly from the police and sheriff departments. The reports were part of the menu of public records that readers expected to see in our newspaper.

We also believed the information was valuable to readers in terms of public safety. Is a neighborhood experiencing a rash of vandalism? Are DWIs on the rise? Should residents be on the lookout for another scam artist?

Continue reading...

Sunshine Week 2015


This year, the Minnesota Newspaper Association 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 was last week. 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 we encouraged local media to look into the increasing amount of public work that is being done by private organizations. 

Colmnn from Bluff Country Newspaper Group:
Time to reflect on sunshine

Sunshine week audit by St. Cloud Times:
Stearns contracts for more than 60 services
Editorial: Don't let technology cloud the sunshine

Column from the St. Peter Herald:
Go ahead, take closed government personally

Editorial from the Shakopee Valley News:
Keeping public business in the open

Redwood Falls Gazette:
Don Landgren cartoon about Sunshine Week

Star Tribune:
On Sunshine Week, a salute to data sharers

Alexandria Echo Press column: 
Celebrate Sunshine Week and your right to know

From the Associated Press:
Sunshine Week spotlights how public is kept in the dark
In e-world, public information disappears despite laws

Send us a link to your Sunshine Week story and we'll feature it next week! Email sarah@mna.org

March Network Honor Rolls

Six newspapers placed 2×2 ads, six newspapers placed MCAN ads and one newspaper placed MINN ads in the month of March.

2×2
ECM/Sun Publications - 3
Herald Journal Publishing - 16
Kerkhoven Banner - 6
Pope County Tribune, Glenwood  - 3
Press Publications - 1
Rochester Post-Bulletin - 6

MCAN
Belle Plaine Herald - 1
Crookston Daily Times - 1
Herald Journal Publishing - 4
Kittson County Enterprise, Hallock - 2
Kerkhoven Banner - 5
Sauk Centre Herald - 1

MINN
Herald Journal Publishing - 3

A bonus went to the following 10 salespeople who sold an ad into the networks. Congratulations!

Ted Almen
Tim Douglass
Barb Flicker
Lindsey Grill
Monica Hensley
Randy Heuer 
Bruce Johnson
Dale Kovar
Lisa Nollen
Chris Schultz

Click here to read about our 2015 Network Ad Sales Incentive Program and you can earn a bonus next month!

Postal Service Delays April 2015 Price Change


The U.S. Postal Service has just announced that it will not implement the postage increase for Periodicals and Standard Mail on April 26 as planned.
 
The Postal Service Governors decided today to delay the implementation of new market-dominant and competitive rates and classification changes until all of our proposed market-dominant changes are approved by the Postal Regulatory Commission (“PRC”). This decision was primarily motivated by a desire to eliminate potential adverse impacts on postal customers that might result from a staggered implementation of our new prices. After considering the complexity of the required programming changes in view of the remand of some of our proposed changes by the Postal Regulatory Committee, the specific complications that our customers might face; the potential cost to the supply chain as a whole of a staggered implementation, the Postal Service has decided to delay implementation until all of our proposed rates and classification changes can be implemented at one time. 
 
While proposed prices for First Class Mail, Special Services and Competitive Products have all been approved by the PRC, prices for the Standard Mail, Periodicals and Package Services classes have twice been remanded back to the Postal Service by the PRC for a wide array of technical and other concerns that are primarily related to the complexities of the price cap and the manner in which it is calculated. Rather than subject our customers to a piecemeal implementation of our new prices, the Postal Service has decided that the best course of action would be to wait until our complete price proposal is approved by our regulator. We have no desire to saddle our valued customers with the additional costs and burdens of a staggered implementation while we work with the PRC to obtain final approval of our remaining prices. We will set a new implementation date when we propose new prices for Standard Mail, Periodicals, and Package Services in response to the PRC’s March 18th remand order. 

Continue reading NNA update...

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...

1st Quarter MCAN/2x2 Tracking Forms Due by April 1st

The 1st quarter tracking information for 2015 is due back by Wednesday, April 1st.

The forms were emailed to ALL participating members earlier this year.

If you did not get the form, CLICK HERE to download the form from the MNA website.

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!

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.

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.

Sponsored Contests: Enhance your newspaper's visibility


Thursday, April 2 
10:00 a.m.

About the program: 
Sponsored contests are a low-cost, low-effort way to increase visibility for both your newspaper and your sponsors. In this session, learn how the Brentwood (CA) Press & Publishing Co. has used a variety of contests – both print and online – to add value for its clients; and learn how you too can put sponsored contests into play at your paper. 

Leading the Discussion: 
HOST - Stan Schwartz, National Newspaper Association 
GUEST STAR - Michele Chatburn, Brentwood (CA) Press & Publishing Co.

Registration fee: $30, Register by Monday, March 30 
(Registrations submitted after this date are subject to a $10 late fee)

PUB AUX LIVE, featuring revenue-generating ideas for community newspapers, is brought to you by The National Newspaper Association, in partnership with the Iowa Newspaper Foundation.

Register online now

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


Check out upcoming webinars from Online Media Campus!

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.


Star Tribune Completes Relocation of Headquarters to Newly Redesigned “Star Tribune Building”

Star Tribune Media Co., Minnesota’s largest news organization, today announced it has completed the relocation of its headquarters operations to the newly redesigned Star Tribune Building, part of the Capella Tower complex, at 650 Third Avenue South, Minneapolis, Minnesota. More than 600 employees from the newsroom, circulation, advertising, marketing, administration and IT departments are now housed in 138,000 square feet on three floors of redesigned office space.

The new headquarters—providing a high-profile downtown presence near city and county government offices—features an entirely new single-floor newsroom to facilitate all aspects of newsgathering, reporting, and editing operations. Minneapolis-based HGA, Inc. designed the office, newsroom and studio space. Jones Lang LaSalle was the project manager, overseeing many complex aspects of the build-out and relocation. Minneapolis-based Gardner Builders oversaw construction. More...

P-B hires city/county government reporter
Andrew Setterholm joined the Post-Bulletin (Rochester) editorial department March 2 as a reporter covering primarily Rochester and Olmsted County government issues. Setterholm, who now lives in Rochester, is a native of Scandia, Minn., and is a graduate of Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter. He has a bachelor's degree in English. More...

Business manager named for DL Newpapers
Detroit Lakes Newspapers has a new leader heading up its business department. Sherri Lefebvre took over as business manager for not only the Detroit Lakes Newspapers, but also for the Park Rapids Enterprise and the Perham Focus, which are all owned by Forum Communications. Lefebvre has 20 years of experience at the Detroit Lakes Newspapers, where she started out working as a part time receptionist. She says the newspaper business is in her blood. More...


Member Classifieds


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...

Editor
The Montevideo American News is looking for an energetic, hard-working, creative and dedicated person to lead our news team as the editor. 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
MNA/MNI Event Calendar
MNA/MNI Event Calendar
MNA Member Classifieds
This Week's Network Ads
Recent Press Releases
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