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August 18, 2015 - Issue 33

Supreme Court Expands Camera Access in Criminal Cases, Sets Pilot Project

Last week, the Supreme Court issued an Order establishing rules for a pilot project that will for the first time reliably allow cameras and audio recorders to be used in criminal courtrooms.  While the August 12 Order is no giant leap, it’s a significant step forward in the long-running effort to get better video and audio access to court proceedings in Minnesota. 
Under the terms of the Order, the new access rules are limited to the post-conviction portions of criminal proceedings--those that occur after a guilty verdict is returned or a guilty plea is accepted.  While this covers only a small portion of the total spectrum of a criminal case, it’s one of the most newsworthy portions, and will include important events such as sentencings and motions to overturn a verdict.  The new rules take effect in November.
What’s particularly noteworthy about the new rules is that trial court judges must permit audio-visual coverage in most cases, regardless of the judge’s preference or consent from the parties.  This has never been done before with the camera issue, even in the context of civil proceedings--where the judge can permit electronic coverage without consent of the parties, but still has complete discretion about whether to allow audio-video coverage at all. 
In criminal cases under the new rules, the trial judge will retain some authority to prohibit electronic coverage in certain situations, but will need to make specific findings demonstrating the necessity of that decision.  In other words, the default rule is that cameras and other recording equipment must be permitted.  It seems likely that most of the time, trial judges won’t seek to overcome that. 
For the other phases of a criminal action, camera coverage will still require the consent of all parties, which in the past has hardly ever been granted.  Nonetheless, if you want to be optimistic, you could imagine that the presence of cameras during sentencings and related events (with no problems) will help erode the resistance to broader access in criminal actions.
Although the Order only establishes a pilot project, which the Court will re-visit in 2018, the odds would seem to be reasonably good that once it’s (yet again) demonstrated that cameras don’t interfere with the proceedings, the new rules will be made permanent.
One final, important point.  As with all previous proposals to allow expanded audio and video coverage of court proceedings in Minnesota, a formidable array of opponents emerged and vigorously objected to the latest change.  The Supreme Court nonetheless decided that it was time to take another step forward, explaining that unless more information was collected about the possible benefits and detriments of cameras in courtrooms, a rational debate on the issue isn’t possible.  Six of the seven members of the Court joined in the decision (Justice Alan Page dissented).  This speaks well about the willingness of the Court to consider new initiatives that might benefit the public, and about the leadership of Chief Justice Lorie Gildea.  They deserve considerable credit.

No Buts Digital: Book it — Time to get on Facebook

By: Jaci Smith

In my last column, I challenged you to avoid digital media quicksand and take the first steps toward creating a Facebook page for your publication.

Now it’s time to think about why you need one and what you should do with it.

I’ll start with a bold prediction: In the next decade or so, maybe less, your newspaper website is going to become largely obsolete unless it offers something dramatically different than what your audience can find via social media.

OK, that’s not really that bold. The signs are already there. According to a Pew Research Center report, roughly two-thirds of U.S. adults use Facebook and half those users get their news there — overall, that’s about a third of the general population. And that number trends upward when you add other social media sites like Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn to the mix.

To put it in old-fashioned print terms, that is some serious penetration.

But here’s the thing: Those same social media users spend less time and visit fewer pages on your news site than someone who comes to your site directly, especially when it comes to hard news. According the Pew report, social media users — particularly Facebook users — are far less likely to engage on those issues, fearing others in the crowd may not agree with their opinions. Facebook users are also much less likely to turn to that platform when they want to follow news as it breaks, instead heading to Twitter.

However, the report goes on to say that a small, but growing number of social media users, 12 to 14 percent, have shared their own media of news events.

There are plenty of other studies about where people are going for news and how they use social media, but what we have from the Pew report gives you a great place to start thinking about what will attract viewers to your page — and what will get them to engage with you.

Remember: This is a different audience than your website, so the goal isn’t necessarily to always drive viewers to your site (see stats above), but rather to increase the reach of your page, the number of interactions you have and the quality of those interactions.

Here are some ideas for simple, easy posts that come from Facebook itself, after it conducted a study:

*Ask a lot of questions. At the Daily News, we routinely crowdsource using Facebook, and we do use those comments in our stories. One rule: We always note in the post that we may use a person’s comment in our story, that way we don’t have to chase someone down to get permission.

*Follow up. Always. If you’re going to ask questions, be prepared to engage. Example: I noticed on my personal news feed that a lot of people like to post photos of their kids’ first day at school. So I posted a request on the Daily News Facebook page, asking readers to post their photos, and noting that I’d run as many as I could in the paper, expecting 2 or 3. I got more than 70 and had to go up 2 pages in the paper to accommodate them all. This year, we’ll sell sponsorship ads of those pages and make some money on that effort.

Continue reading...

Henninger: A concept for a Public Notices page 

Until recently, when some state legislatures attempted to pull legal notices out of newspapers (in some cases, successfully), we've rarely given legals a second thought. We just ran them and took the money.Now that we’re threatened with the loss of legal advertising, we need to change our thinking.One of my suggestions (surprise!) is that we pay greater attention to the design of legals.

One of my suggestions (surprise!) is that we pay greater attention to the design of legals.

For starters, let’s stop labeling them “legal advertising” and call them what they really are: Public Notices.

1. GIVE THEM a special header. I like the idea of running a shallow photo of an architectural detail, perhaps, from your county court building. Or, you could run a representative photo like a gavel or a courtroom.Here are some suggestions:

2. INCREASE the type size That’s right: If you want people to take notice and read your notices, run the type larger. You may be being paid only to run legals at 7 point or so, but I suggest you run them the same size you run your text. Does that make them take up more space? Yes. Do you want to keep the public notices in your paper? Yes!

3. RUN HEADLINES. Just like other news in your paper, give each notice a headline to help attract readers in the package.

Continue reading...

Calling All Contest Judges!

We're looking for a few award-winning contest judges to help choose the winners of the Wisconsin Newspaper Association's Better Newspaper Contest. Will you help??

MNA’s 2014-2015 contest partner is the Wisconsin Newspaper Association.  We need 50+ MNA members, with Editorial, Advertising, Photo/Multimedia expertise, to review and judge entries submitted in the WNA Better Newspaper Contest. The vast majority of judging will be completed online, using - the same system MNA uses for its contest. Some categories will be mailed out to judges for review. All results will be entered online.

You will receive judging assignments in early October and your results will be due back in early November. Please keep these deadlines in mind when committing to judging! We suggest that you enlist the help of your talented coworkers as well!

Professionals from the Wisconsin Newspaper Association will be providing the judging expertise for the 2014-2015 Minnesota Newspaper Association contest in exchange for our members judging their work.

Please let us know as soon as possible if you would be interested in judging.

Email LuAnn Yattaw, or call 612-278-0235 to sign up. Thank you!  

Not a subscriber? Sign up for 2014-15 Legal Hotline Today!

A tremendous asset! The smartest money you’ll spend all year.

LegalHotline2014MNA’s Legal Hotline begins its 30th year on September 1.  As current program participants know, one call could save your newspaper thousands of dollars in legal fees.

The Legal Hotline provides subscribers with a reliable, low-cost, accessible source of expert legal advice in most areas of law affecting newspapers. MNA’s Legal Hotline, provided by MNA Attorney Mark Anfinson, allows newspapers of all sizes to have ready access to answers for legal questions.

If you are NOT already a subscriber, sign up now by filling out and returning the MNA Legal Hotline Registration Form.  Please  review the Legal Hotline Brochure to learn more about the program.

If you are currently a Hotline subscriber, look for the 2014-2015 invoice to arrive soon. (If you do not wish to continue with the program, let us know by contacting Debbie at

Here’s what current subscribers have to say about the Legal Hotline:

“Without question the legal hotline and Mark Anfinson have been a tremendous asset to our papers for years. I have yet to stump him with any legal issues and the speed with which he responds is incredible. His understanding of media law is vast and amplified by his every day exposure to the issues that newspapers consider land mines. Owners, publishers, managers and reporters across the state can call the hotline with confidence that any nervousness they may have about libel, copyright, political advertising or online comments can be carefully dissected, disarmed and explained so exposure is minimized without compromising the story.”

–Keith Anderson, director of news, ECM Publishers

“The very concept of the legal hotline is an excellent one, but when you add someone with Mark Anfinson’s vast experience and wisdom as part of the deal, it’s absolutely indispensable. Mark knows libel and data practices law backwards and forwards and he can almost instantly get to the nub of any issue, no matter how complex. I’ve never failed to be impressed by his knowledge and his practical, common sense approaches to just about any issue that might arise. I would never, ever be without the Legal Hotline. It’s the smartest money you’ll spend all year.”

— Marshall Helmberger, Managing Editor, The Timberjay Newspapers

More information on MNA's website...

Coming Soon: 2014-2015 BNC! compiling your best work from the past year, and get ready to enter the 2014-2015 MNA Better Newspaper Contest!

All work, published September 1, 2014 - August 31, 2015 is eligible for the contest.  Contest entry categories, rules and detailed instructions will be mailed to every newspaper during the last week of August, and published in the August 25 issue of the MNA Bulletin.  The contest system will be open for entry submission September 1 - September 30

Judges from the Wisconsin Newspaper Association will select this year's winners. 

If you have any questions, please contact LuAnn Yattaw at or 612-278-0235.

MNA Public Notice Site - House Ads Now Available!

In 2014, MNA successfully launched its online clearinghouse of Minnesota public notices. Many MNA-member newspapers are up and running on the site, posting public notices weekly - or more often - on the 

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!

We’re doing mobile journalism wrong: Here are 4 ways to do it right

Mobile journalism has its strengths and weaknesses. As Judd Slivka, an assistant professor at the Missouri School of Journalism and a MobileVideoDIY instructor, has learned many journalists quickly find the weaknesses of shooting photos and videos on their mobile devices when they expect too much from the devices. When the devices don’t produce the results they want, they often decide to throw in the towel, he says. In Slivka’s latest blog post, he encourages journalists to not give up, know that mobile journalism is limited, and to remember to focus on what mobile  journalism is good at. He shares four advantages to using the technology in the newsroom. 

Read the article from the Reynolds Journalism Institute

Hone Your Social Media & Investigative Skills 

Check out the upcoming webinars from Online Media Campus!

THURSDAY! New Ways to Grow Audience Online: Social Stories for Snapchat, Periscope and Facebook

Thursday, August 20
1:00 – 2:00 p.m.

Reaching new audiences is easier than ever with social media. Knowing where to invest your time is the challenge. Periscope, Snapchat and Facebook’s deep dive into video are changing the way we reach our social readers. Learn how to use live video, Facebook video and Snapchat to mine new audiences and be creative with social stories. We will explore what new social mediums work best for attracting younger audiences and branding our content.

This session is recommended for anyone who has intermediate social media skills and is comfortable using basic video and photo skills on a mobile device.

More information and register...

Investigative Reporting Tools for any Newsroom

Thursday, September 17
1:00 – 2:00 p.m. 

Investigative ReportingYou want to dig into a story that has depth and impact, but does the daily grind always steal your time? In this webinar we will discuss how you can tackle that big project, while feeding the daily beast, and not sacrificing quality.

This session will provide tools necessary so newsrooms with tight resources do not have to fear that they are incapable of doing investigative reporting. All reporting can be considered investigative, and going deeper with story ideas can only enrich the experience for readers.

This session is beneficial for newsrooms or staff looking to incorporate more investigative projects into their reporting and coverage.

More information and register...

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

Reporter - Perham
Award-winning weekly newspaper seeks a dynamic, enthusiastic general assignment reporter. More...

Managing Editor
The Messenger, in Fort Dodge, Iowa, is seeking an energetic managing editor for our newsroom’s top leadership position. We publish a 7-day a.m. daily newspaper, as well as other weekly and monthly niche publications. More...

Full-Time Reporter 
The Farmington/Rosemount Independent Town Pages is seeking a qualified candidate to be our next full-time reporter. More...

Marketing Consultant 
The West Central Tribune is now hiring a full time Marketing Consultant. More...

Advertising Coordinator
The West Central Tribune is now hiring a full time Advertising Coordinator. More...

The Morrison County Record in Little Falls, MN, and the Dairyland Peach, in Sauk Centre, MN, two award-winning free distribution newspapers under common ownership, are looking for a full-time general assignment reporter to cover the news and work on special projects. More...

Faribault Daily News – Reporter
The Faribault Daily News is looking for a reporter, but we won’t settle for the ordinary. We need someone who’s equally comfortable writing an enterprise piece on budget trends or a feature on an interesting resident, and who will tweet about it all the while. More...

General Assignment Reporter
The Litchfield Independent Review seeks a talented, energetic journalist to join our award-winning team. This is a general assignment reporter position. More...

News Reporter – Le Mars, IA
The Le Mars Daily Sentinel, a four-day-a-week newspaper in northwest Iowa, seeks a motivated news reporter who can generate ideas, turn in accurate and well-organized stories, meet daily deadlines and work well with our newsroom. More...

Digital Editor
The Post-Bulletin Co. is seeking a creative, dynamic individual to fill the role of Digital Editor, a key newsroom leadership position. More... 

Print Production/Graphic Artist
African American weekly community newspaper seeks motivated individual with experience to design and lay out newspaper pages and in-house material. More...

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Upcoming Events

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

New Ways to Grow Audience Online: Social Stories for Snapchat, Periscope and Facebook
August 20 | 1-2 p.m.

Inland Group Executive Conference
September 16-18

Investigative Reporting Tools for any Newsroom
Sept. 17 | 1-2 p.m.

National Newspaper Association 129th Annual Convention and Trade Show
October 1-3

MNA Board Meeting
October 15-16
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