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February 7, 2017 - Issue 6

MNA Legislative Report - February 7, 2017

The past week at the Capitol was again relatively routine.  We have nothing to report that is especially dramatic or important in terms of the interests of MNA and its members.
New bills continue to be introduced, carefully reviewed by MNA’s legislative team.  However, none of them are setting off alarm bells at this point.
Email Retention.  Last week MNA representatives attended a meeting hosted by Sen. Ron Latz (DFL-St. Louis Park) and Sen. Dan Hall (R-Burnsville), to continue discussing the issue of how long government agencies should be required to retain copies of emails before they can be purged.  Last week’s meeting vividly demonstrated just how complex the topic is, and how difficult it will be to develop a coherent and workable state policy on this issue, mainly because emails contain so many different kinds of information. The Senate Local Government Committee was scheduled to conduct an informational hearing Tuesday on the issue.  Sen. Latz has also introduced S.F. 123, which would require emails to be maintained for longer periods of time.  It’s the companion bill to H.F. 70.
Law Enforcement Data Classification.  In the past few days, MNA’s representatives at the Capitol also had discussions with legislative staff about H.F. 132, which would prohibit public access to dates of birth, phone numbers, and email addresses collected by law enforcement agencies.  Currently such data is classified as public most of the time.  In our discussions, we expressed strong concern about the scope of the proposed private classification.  However, no resolution of the issue has yet been worked out.
Sales Tax on Digital Products.  We’re keeping a close eye on S.F. 726, which includes provisions expanding the state’s sales tax on certain digital products.  Current law exempts the digital version of newspapers and similar news and information sources from the sales tax, and we want to insure that this isn’t diluted as the bill moves forward. The bill is scheduled to be heard in the Senate Tax Committee on Wednesday of this week.
PERB Bill.  Finally, we’ve successfully negotiated changes to a bill (H.F. 564) that in its original form would have allowed a minor state body known as the Public Employee Relations Board excessive exemption from the Open Meeting Law.  As amended, the bill only permits the Board to close meetings when performing quasi-judicial functions.  
Remember that you can always consult the MNA Bill Status Report, which efficiently summarizes all of the bills so far introduced during the 2017 session that MNA has flagged for special attention.  And of course, be sure to contact us if you have questions or concerns about any legislative issue.  We always appreciate hearing from our members. 

Click to view MNA's Legislative Bill Status Report

Convention Wrap-Ups

Looking for digital copies of speaker handouts? Everything we have is posted to the Convention Sessions & Speakers section of our website. 

Would you like to order duplicate BNC awards?
Click here to download the Professional Awards order form
Click here to download the College Awards order form

Click here to view photos from convention on our Facebook page.

Did you publish a story or column about the MNA Convention? Send a link to the story or a PDF clip of it to
Don't forget to save the date for our 150th annual convention next year - January 25-26, 2018.
Note: MNA Member newspapers are welcome to reprint this piece with the note, "This article first appeared in USA TODAY."

Ken Paulson: Fight fake news with the real thing

This article first appeared in USA TODAY.

Fake news is becoming a real problem, according to successive presidents of the United States. Barack Obama described it as a threat to democracy, while President Trump decried it as a threat to his administration.

So it must be a big deal. Surely this nation’s inventive spirit can give us something to counter "alternative facts" and bogus stories to give Americans the accurate information they need. Just consider this potential Kickstarter campaign:

We’re pleased to offer you the opportunity to invest in the Fake News Eradicator, a content delivery system that will keep you informed in a timely and reliable manner, engage and entertain you and shore up democracy in the process. Among its features:

  • The option of digital or retro packaging
  • Custom-built for your geographic location without the need for GPS
  • Fully portable
  • Built-in fact-checking
  • Creates local jobs; the product is manufactured in the USA by your neighbors.
  • Redesigned daily to meet your changing information needs
  • Family friendly; absolutely porn-free
  • The retro model is delivered to your doorstep and requires no batteries. It’s also guaranteed to be virus-free and has no annoying pop-up ads.

Yes, the best way to combat this spawn of new technology is with old technology, circa 1690, the year the first newspaper was published in America.

The most effective weapon against fake news is real journalism. The notion of caring professionals living in your community and writing about your town and government is admittedly very old school, but it has served us well for more than three centuries. We’ve had fake news at the checkout counter since the '70s, but there was also the real thing delivered to our doorstep each morning.

Obviously print newspapers will one day disappear, but the touchstones of local journalism don’t have to. Keeping an eye on local government, celebrating achievements and telling the stories that shape the fabric of a community have never been more important.

For those rolling their eyes because they’re convinced that the local newspaper is “biased” along with the rest of the media, I’d invite you to reconsider. By and large, local newspapers strive for balance for both ethical and business reasons. With newspapers struggling economically, they can’t afford to alienate anyone. That’s why many newspapers have abandoned endorsements. They can’t take the risk of losing a chunk of their readership.

Continue reading...

Ken Paulson became president of the First Amendment Center in August 2010 and dean of the College of Mass Communication at Middle Tennessee State University on Aug. 1, 2013. After receiving his law degree from the University of Illinois College of Law, Paulson returned to journalism, first on the staff of the Fort Myers (Fla.) News-Press and subsequently on the founding team of USA TODAY in 1982. A pioneer in online newspaper content, Paulson launched online newspaper editions in Florida and New York in 1993. As both a lawyer and a journalist, Paulson takes great pride in the First Amendment. In 1998, while working at the First Amendment Center, he created the multimedia show "Freedom Sings" to celebrate the First Amendment and educate citizens of its importance in an unconventional way. He returned to USA TODAY, the nation's leading circulation newspaper, as editor in 2004, and served in this capacity until being named president of the Newseum and later, president of the First Amendment Center.


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
At its December 21, 2016, meeting, the Wördos group presented a plaque to Bob Shaw thanking him for his many contributions to the group. (Click photo to enlarge.)
Here’s the copy on the inscription:
Presented to
 Robert MacGregor Shaw
 In sincere appreciation for his dedication to improving clarity in use of the English language as demonstrated by his founding of the grammar group Wördos and his years of service to the group and the media in general.

Thank you, Bob, for all you’ve done to try to preserve the language and encourage others to do the same and for maintaining the highest standards of being a professional curmudgeon.

Presented December 21, 2016

Slimp: Finding the truth

It seems to be on a lot of minds

By: Kevin Slimp

The transition from 2016 to 2017 seemed to prompt a bit more email from folks who read my columns. I’m not sure if it was the upcoming solar eclipse predicted by some to mark the end of the world, the death of Superman in “Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice” late in the year or, more likely, response to the U.S. presidential election. Whatever the cause, readers had a lot to say and most wanted me to join them in saying it.

The most common request was to write something about fake news.

“You should write something we can include in our newspapers,” wrote one publisher.

“Please, please let people know that newspapers are real,” wrote another.

One ad manager said, “You’ve got to do this. We have to let readers and advertisers know we provide needed resources to our communities.”

I thought about it. I found interviews of a couple of folks who made fortunes creating fake news sites in 2016. I even went so far as looking into the possibility of creating my own fake news site, just to get firsthand knowledge for a story.

What I learned was it’s really not very hard to make a few thousand dollars with one of these sites. It’s trickier, now that Facebook and Google are threatening to tighten down on providing advertising for them, but it is still possible.

Continue reading...

January Network Honor Rolls

Six newspapers placed 2×2 ads and six newspapers placed MCAN ads in the month of January.

Herald Journal Publishing - 11
Kerkhoven Banner - 5
Mankato Free Press - 1
Rochester Post-Bulletin – 5
Sauk Centre Herald - 2
Swift County Monitor-News, Benson - 1

Grant County Herald, Elbow Lake - 1
Jackson County Pilot - 1
Mankato Free Press - 3
Pelican Rapids Press - 3
St. James Plaindealer - 1
Westbrook Sentinel/Tribune - 3

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

Ted Almen
Robin Burnell
Duane Durheim
Barb Erickson
Barb Flicker
Monica Hensley
Randy Heuer
Bruce Johnson
Kari Jurrens
Jerry Miller
Anne O'Flynn
Chris Schultz

Click here to read about our 2017 Network Ad Sales Incentive Program and you can earn a bonus next month!

Henninger: Text type suggestions

A reader emailed to mention that I’d recently written a column listing New Century Schoolbook (among others) as a typeface to toss, but that I hadn’t suggested a text face that might be better.

Good point. So, this column will focus on text typefaces I can recommend. It’s not a long list, and you may have a text face you like that’s not on my list. If so, send me a quick note and I can share some thoughts with you about your preference.

Here are my suggestions:

NIMROD. It’s just a bit more condensed than many other text types, but Nimrod has superior x-height and a stroke weight that borders on perfection. It’s the one typeface to which I compare all others. When I hear others ooh and ahh about a new text typeface, I immediately get access to that face, then do a test comparing it with Nimrod. And every time…every time…Nimrod still comes out larger and easier to read. The illustration with this column that compares Nimrod with New Century Schoolbook is a typical example. After 27-plus years as a newspaper consultant, I still recommend Nimrod first.

UTOPIA. Designed in 1989, Utopia has excellent stroke weight for use on newsprint. It’s easy to read and—like many superior text types—calls little attention to itself.

GEORGIA. I heard recently that another consultant said “You should never use a typeface named after a place.” I’ll disagree here. A good thing about Georgia is that you probably already own it. It’s a good text face and I’ve used it in several redesigns.

Continue reading...

Ad-libs: If your marketing were a car, what would it be?

By John Foust

Lawrence told me about a technique for gathering information from prospective advertisers. “I’ve been selling for a long time, so I realize the importance of information. But I like to go beyond the standard questions about their history, products, customers and goals.”

He said that sometimes it helps to switch gears. “A lot of people ask prospects to rate their current marketing on a scale of one to ten, with ten being the highest. Whatever number they choose, you simply ask why they made that choice. For example, if they say ‘seven,’ ask what would make it a ten. The answer tells you what they would like to change, so you respond by focusing your presentation on your paper’s strengths in those areas. If they say ‘ten’ – which you’ll rarely hear – ask them why they feel that way. Sometimes their answer will reveal that it’s really not a ten. If they truly believe it should rate that highly, ask how they can maintain that number – then look for a role your paper can play.

“I like the car comparison that Paul Smith uses for computer systems in his book ‘Lead with a Story.’ It’s probably related to questions that kids ask, like ‘What kind of animal would you like to be? or ‘If you were a tree, what kind would you be?’ In this case, ask, ‘If your current marketing were a car, what make and year would it be?’ Then ask what kind of car they would like it to be in the future.”

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.

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:

McLeod Publishing under new ownership. The McLeod County Chronicle has a new owner. Publisher Karin Ramige purchased the company from her parents, longtime owners Bill and Joyce Ramige, on Dec. 31, 2016. Bill Ramige started with the company as editor in 1981, later purchasing the company. After working with the company through high school and college, Karin Ramige began with McLeod Publishing full-time in August 2009, becoming publisher in 2014. She graduated from Luther College in 1999 with majors in business and Spanish. In 2007, she graduated from Augsburg College with a Master in business administration. She serves as the chair of the Minnesota News Media Institute, as well as third vice president on the Minnesota Newspaper Association Board of Directors. She also is active in the Glencoe Rotary Club, Christ Lutheran Church, and McLeod For Tomorrow.

OwnLocal Acquires Print2Web: Y-Combinator backed OwnLocal announced they have acquired Print2Web, a pioneering digital service provider for the newspaper industry. More...

Mike Lamb has taken over as editor of the Marshall Independent. He grew up in the small Wisconsin community of Neenah, which is near Green Bay and earned a journalism degree at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. Lamb's first job was sports editor with the McHenry Plaindealer near Chicago. He has worked in several communities in California and New Mexico. More...

Balaton Press-Tribune has new ownership. The Balaton Press-Tribune entered the new year under new ownership. Randy and Kara Miller, Balaton, have acquired the more than century-old Balaton weekly newspaper and its downtown building. The purchase from Seth Schmidt, Tracy; and Jim Keul, Lake Shetek; was effective Jan. 1. Schmidt and Keul, who are partners in Tracy Publishing and the Tracy Headlight-Herald, bought the Press-Tribune from Steve and Kathy Swift in January of 1997. Randy Miller looks at the acquisition of the Press-Tribune as both a community and business opportunity for Balaton. He plans to continue publishing the Press-Tribune as a weekly newspaper, while also offering Balaton area businesses new digital marketing options.

Member Classifieds:

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

The Question That Improves Every Sales Pitch
(Courtesy of HubSpot)

Qualities That Set Elite Sales Reps Apart
(Courtesy of OMG Hub)

How Salespeople Build Rapport Using Body Language
(Courtesy of MTD Sales Training)

Gitomer: I’d Rather Have No Advice Than Bad Advice.
(Courtesy of Media Sales Today)

Sales Memo: Winning Starts With Thinking Strategically
(Courtesy of Sales Training Connection)

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Upcoming Events

Check out upcoming training events from the Local Media Association
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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
This Week's Network Ads
Recent Press Releases
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