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February 14, 2017 - Issue 7

MNA Legislative Report - February 14, 2017

It’s been another relatively routine few days at the Capitol since our last Bulletin report.  And as we’ve noted many times, “routine” for the most part equals “good,” especially since MNA is not pursuing any legislative proposals that urgently need to be enacted this year.
There continues to be a steady flow of new bill introductions, several of which have provoked our interest.  These include measures that would:  restore newspaper publication to help notify people that they might be entitled to money or property from the state’s huge unclaimed property fund (HF 587); require registration of drones with the state (HF 858); establish a statewide education and outreach program to protect vulnerable adults from financial exploitation, including funding for newspaper advertising (HF 879); give the Minnesota Tax Court (an executive branch agency) broad discretion in deciding how to classify tax court records; and extend the period of time in which government emails must be retained—the second bill to appear on this topic (HF 317).
The unclaimed property bill mentioned above follows in the footsteps of similar proposals that have been attempted in recent sessions, proposals that MNA has strongly supported.  This year’s author in the House is Rep. Regina Barr (R-Inver Grove Heights).  Her bill is set to be heard in the House Commerce Committee on Tuesday afternoon.  MNA Executive Director Lisa Hills and attorney Mark Anfinson are scheduled to testify in support of the bill.
MNA representatives also continue to participate in discussions among a wide spectrum of stakeholders interested in the issue of how long government agencies should be required to retain electronic records, particularly emails. Most of those stakeholders represent units of local government.  As we’ve reported, the issue is very complicated, and as a result, no general agreement on what state law should say about retention periods in this context appears to be close. 
That brings you up to date for now. We’ll have another installment on legislative developments in next week’s Bulletin.  Meanwhile, be sure to let us know if you have any questions or concerns whatsoever.

Click to view MNA's Legislative Bill Status Report

Congratulations To Our 2017 Ad Design Contest Winners!

We are pleased to congratulate the winners of the 2017 Ad Design Contest -- prizes were awarded at the 2017 MNA Convention last month.

All MNA member newspapers are welcome to use and publish contest ads in their newspapers. You'll find space for customization to your newspaper on each ad. If you have any questions, please let us know at
1st Place: Rochester Post Bulletin | Cathy Wheeler

2nd Place: Kimball Tri-County News | Jean Matua

Click here to view and download all Ad Design Contest entries

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

Ad-libs: Advertising is all about motivation

When you peel back the layers of advertising philosophy and technique, it all comes down to one thing: Motivation. People buy things because they are motivated. And the most effective ads are those that appeal to the right motivation.

There are two basic motivators: (1) desire for gain and (2) fear of loss. Think about your own experience and it’s easy to see that your purchases can be traced to a desire to get (or maintain) something you want or to prevent the loss of something you don’t want to lose.

This goes for big and small buying decisions. Why do you move to a new house? (Real estate experts say the three biggest reasons are location, location and location.) Why do you buy new tires when your old ones wear out? (Fear of an accident.) Why do you go to the movies? (Desire for entertainment.) Why do you wait for something to go on sale before buying? (Desire to save money.) Why do you buy a convertible? Why do you join a gym? Why do you buy an insurance policy?

Smart advertisers find – and stick with – the right motivators to sell their products and services. Take tires, for example. Although every brand of tire is built for safety, Michelin took that universal benefit to a new level – with imagery of smiling babies riding in the protective embrace of their tires. That strategy positioned Michelin as the “safe tire” – a benefit that is tied directly to a major motivator for parents.

You can do the same thing for your advertisers. Simply identify a dominant motivator and package it in the form of a benefit. Then make that benefit crystal clear in the headline and graphic images.

Here are some formulas to write better benefit headlines. Look for the motivational elements.

1. “How to ________ (fill in the blank).” In many cases, whatever you put after the words “how to” will automatically promise a benefit. For example, “How to simplify your vacation plans”… “How to learn a foreign language”… “How to lose five pounds in five days.”

Continue reading...

What are your newsletter analytics trying to tell you? Are you listening?

From: Reynolds Journalism Institute

Essential metrics and diagnostics for effective newsletters

Your newsletter subscribers are trying to tell you something, but are you tracking the right metrics to hear them?

Learning from and iterating upon even the simplest elements of your newsletter can lead to powerful insights and improvements for your newsletter and audience, as we discussed in Designing a Data-Driven Newsletter.

Curators traditionally rely on three standard metrics to gauge newsletter effectiveness: open rate, click-thru rate and subscription rate. Yet these alone don’t provide a complete picture of newsletter health. Conversely, collecting every possible data point does not guarantee fitness. Too many curators waste time collecting data simply for the sake of collecting, rather than using analytics to diagnose and improve.

So how should you efficiently monitor the effectiveness of your newsletters? The answer depends on your response to one question: Why is it that you want to curate a newsletter in the first place?

Not every metric is valuable for every newsletter, so below we’ve outlined recommended metrics to help you achieve your specific desired newsletter outcomes. We’ve noted which intentions each metric is most relevant for, what known industry standards you can use to judge progress, and suggestions for testing and iteration if and-or when your analytics leave something to be desired.

However, while industry standards can be a helpful gauge, the most successful newsletter curators have left them in the dust by building data into every decision, striving for constant improvement and iteration rather than a status quo.

Metrics and analytics can help you improve deliverability, relevance or growth of your newsletter — but only if you use them. Poor performance in any of these data points is a symptom, not a diagnosis. For example, in “Diagnostics and testing” you’ll find suggestions for testing and iteration to get at the heart of low performance. The diagnosis may be any number of possible issues, which are easy to narrow down through A/B testing. So, if your analytics aren’t telling you what you want to hear, use these suggestions to begin improving.  

Continue reading...

Nominations for 2017 Finnegan Freedom Of Information Award are welcome and will be accepted through Monday, February 20.

The John R. Finnegan Freedom of Information Award was established by MNCOGI in 1989 and is named for the retired senior vice-president and assistant publisher of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Finnegan was a lifelong stalwart of open meetings, open records and the First Amendment.

Who should receive this year’s Finnegan FOI Award? Feel free to nominate an individual or organization whose actions demonstrated leadership and commitment to freedom and the power of information to effect change. Complete the nomination form and learn more about previous winners by going to our website at Completed forms must be submitted by February 20, 2017.

This year’s Finnegan Award will be presented at a ceremony at noon in Pohlad Hall in Minneapolis Central Library on Thursday, March 16th. Additional information about the keynote speaker will be released soon.

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...

Notoriety with Left-Handed Edition 

Friday, February 17 
10:00 a.m.

About the program: 
Just for fun, the staff of the Custer County Chief opted to print a left-handed newspaper. It was hugely successful, a nice moneymaker and a great team builder. The product was viewed as a special edition with focus on front-page news, feature stories, sports and advertising- leaving only the public notices section. The Chief ended up on The Associated Press with the headline “McCaslin is a leftist” which prompted paper requests from around the world. The paper over printed in anticipation, and promptly sold out. 

Leading the Discussion: 
HOST Stan Schwartz, National Newspaper Association 
Deb McCaslin, former publisher of the Custer County Chief, in Broken Bow, NE 

Registration fee: $30 for NNA Members; $65 for non-members

Register by Monday, February 13
(Registrations submitted after this date are subject to a $10 late fee until Midnight Jan. 11)

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

Upcoming Online Media Campus Training

Check out the upcoming webinar from Online Media Campus!

Successfully Negotiating on Value vs. Price

Friday, February 24
1:00 – 2:00 p.m. 

This program will be a fast-paced session focused on three key skills for you and your team:

  • Negotiate smarter, not harder.
  • Negotiate on value, not on price.
  • Win more and lose less in sales!

This webinar will be applicable to leaders and sellers, who must negotiate to close deals, renew contracts and achieve price increases.

This webinar will be ALL MEAT, NO FAT.

More information and register...

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...

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.

Click for more information and to register...

Apply Now for Murrow Press Fellowship

The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) is seeking applicants for the 2017–2018 Edward R. Murrow Press Fellowship

Named in honor of Edward R. Murrow and funded by the CBS Foundation, this fellowship offers a foreign correspondent or editor a period of nine months at CFR's headquarters in New York for sustained analysis and writing, free from the daily pressures that characterize journalistic life. The 2016–2017 Murrow Fellow is Leila Fadel, international correspondent, National Public Radio. This year’s online application deadline is March 1, 2017. 

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:

Mike Lundgren, sports editor of The Times in Thief River Falls and Northern Watch, has retired. Lundgren began work at The Times nearly 47 years ago. Lundgren said, “The first 46 years on the job just seemed to fly by.”

The years caught up to him last year when he underwent bypass surgery. Though the procedure went well, he said he still feels like he’s carrying some baggage, and doesn’t have the energy he once enjoyed. Lundgren said he has thoroughly enjoyed the many, many years he’s had at The Times, and now looks forward to cheering from the stands for his favorite teams.

Scott DCamp has been named sports editor. DCamp has worked as a reporter at The Times since October 2003. He has covered wrestling as part of his beat for many years. DCamp also filled in for Lundgren on several occasions. He is a two-time Minnesota Newspaper Association award winner. DCamp graduated from Minnesota State University Moorhead in 2003 with a bachelor’s degree in mass communications.

Ellarry Prentice and Leah Byron join Crow River Media
Ellarry Prentice joined the Independent Review as its editor in November. The Paynesville native previously worked at the Paynesville Press for 10 years. Her hobbies include writing, travel, photography and reading.

Byron joined the Independent Review in early January. She is a 2012 graduate of Hutchinson High School, and a 2016 graduate of the College of St. Benedict, where she served as a reporter for the campus newspaper, covering student government and writing feature stories. Her hobbies include photography, painting and drawing. Continue reading...

Dorothy Marie Petri (Sagaser), 95, of Fort Myers, formerly of Fairview Park, OH, died peacefully on February 2, 2017. She was born in Geneva, OH, to Clyde and Dora (Brumagin) Sagaser on March 15, 1921. Dottie, as she preferred to be called, was society editor of The Geneva Free Press at the time she married her childhood sweetheart, Carl Petri, on July 11, 1941. Their first child, Jacquelyn, was born on October 20, 1942, and just nine months later Carl was called to  serve in the U.S. Army Signal Corps during WWII. Following the war the family moved to the Cleveland, OH, area. Their union was blessed with 72 years together until Carl passed away on September 25, 2013. In addition to her role as a loving wife and mother, Dottie’s career outside the home included various positions in the business world where her secretarial and organizational skills served her employers extremely well. Her final position was in the Messiah Lutheran Church office where she served until she was 80 years old. Dedicated members of Messiah Lutheran Church in Fairview Park, OH, she and Carl joined St. Michael Lutheran, upon relocating to Fort Myers in 2005. In addition to her business skills this strong, little Irish woman was an exceptional seamstress and could shop with the best of them. She loved to play cards and board games. She is survived by her “treasured girls,” Jacquelyn (James) Bartz, Janis (Chuck) Wann, Joyce (Neal) Hinkel and Joni (Jon) Zehnder; 10 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren. Dottie is preceded in death by her husband, parents, and brothers Elmer, Walter and C.  Raymond. A Celebration of Life will be held at 4:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 13, at St. Michael Lutheran Church, 3595 Broadway, Fort Myers. Fellowship time with the family will follow the service. Memorials to Messiah Lutheran School Scholarship Fund or St. Michael Lutheran Foundation. 

Member Classifieds:

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...

Full-Time Reporter
The Lakes Area Review has an immediate opening for a full-time reporter. Position will focus primarily on sports and education and will also include general news assignments. More...

Antique Platen Press available
Would anyone be interested in an old press that we need to move before February 15? I can send pictures. More...

The Burnett County Sentinel, a 2,500 circ. weekly an hour and a half drive from the Twin Cities, has an opening for an editor that can see beyond the obvious, tell compelling stories and be a part of the community. More...

Southwest News Media, an affiliate of Big Fish Works, an award-winning news organization located in the southwest metro areas of the Twin Cities, is looking for an experienced journalist to work in collaboration with a 20+-member news team in covering the communities we serve. More...

Southwest News Media, an affiliate of Big Fish Works, an award-winning news organization located in the southwest metro areas of the Twin Cities, will be filling its new position of Digital Content Coordinator to work in collaboration with a 20+-member news team in covering the communities we serve. More...

Graphic Designer/Inside Advertising Sales
Part-time position currently available in Maple Lake area.Starting date is early February, 2017. More...

Multi-Media Sales Representative
Perham Focus, a division of Forum Communications Company, has an immediate opening for a Multi-media Sales Consultant. 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

Audio: Reed Anfinson on importance of newspapers in rural MN
(Courtesy of

South Dakota: Newspapers will still print public notices as bill dies
(Courtesy of Rapid City Journal)

5 Psychological Biases That Help Salespeople Gain More Ground During Negotiations
(Courtesy of HubSpot)

Understanding The Customer Beats Lowering Prices
(Courtesy of Media Post)

How This Slight Change In Mindset Will Smash Your Sales Targets
(Courtesy of MTD Sales Training)

Gitomer: The Questions That Matter Most in a Sales Presentation
(Courtesy of Media Sales Today)

20 Time Management Tips for Full-Cycle Inside Sales Reps
(Courtesy of Sales and Marketing Management)

Poynter: We’re launching a newsletter conversation about the future of local news
(Courtesy of Poynter)

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Pub Aux Live: Notoriety with Left-Handed Edition
February 17

Successfully Negotiating on Value vs. Price
February 24

Best Practices for Public Notice
March 2
MNA/MNI Event Calendar
MNA Member Classifieds
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