Minnesota and the Minnesota Newspaper Association were represented at the National Newspaper Association’s Community Newspaper Leadership Summit last month. Reed Anfinson, owner of several community newspapers and former NNA president, was there as a mentor to University of Minnesota student and National Newspaper Association Foundation News Fellow Gabriel Sanchez. They attended the markup of the postal bill that NNA is monitoring and visited the U.S. Capitol and the the Supreme Court of the United States. Apart from those locations, they visited the Newseum, Gallup, the Cato Institute and dined at the Old Ebbitt Grill. News fellows had the opportunity to learn from staff at each destination they visited. They also connected with and learned from their peers from other states as well as mentors from all over the country.
The focus of 2017’s fellowship was the independence of the courts and how political they should be. A timely subject, given the controversy revolving Neil Gorsuch’s confirmation and the denial of a hearing for Merrick Garland. The fellows learned from Tony Mauro, National Law Journal Supreme Court correspondent, the libertarian Cato Institute and the progressive Constitutional Accountability Center. Given the subject, the Minnesota reporters were fortunate to have both Senators sit on the Judiciary Committee. Sanchez had an opportunity to interview Senator Amy Klobuchar before the confirmation hearings, and Anfinson and Sanchez spoke with staff at Sens. Al Franken’s and Klobuchar’s offices. At the National Press Club, fellows dined with members of newspaper associations from a multitude of states and listened to Martin Baron speak about the current state of local newspapers.
One of the requirements of the NNAF Fellows was write about a national issue with implications in American’s hometowns. The story written by Gabriel Sanchez is available for your newspaper to reprint.