2017 Sessions & Speakers


Sessions & Speakers

The 2017 MNA Convention is a wrap! Are you looking for handouts or PowerPoint presentations from speakers? Scroll down the page to view the full list of speakers and sessions at the 2017 and download materials.

Freedom Sings – Thursday, January 26 – Noon Luncheon

header_logo3Celebrate MNA’s 150th Anniversary and the First Amendment with Freedom Sings!  Joins us for the entertaining, engaging and inspiring story of free speech in America told through rock, pop, hip-hop and country music. Featuring a cast of award-winning musicians, the performance visits turning points in contemporary history and the popular and sometimes provocative songs they inspired.

Cast Members include:

  • Dez Dickerson – Artist and music entrepreneur and the original guitarist with Prince and the Revolution.
  • Joseph Wooten –  A solo artist and keyboardist for the Hall of Fame-honored Steve Miller Band.
  • Bill Lloyd –  A country hit maker with Foster and Lloyd, a songwriter who work has been recorded by Trisha Yearwood, Martina McBride and Hootie and the Blowfish.
  • Jonell Mosser – A soulful singer and session vocalist, a member of Kentucky Thunder and former member of the New Maroons, with Ringo Starr on drums.
  • Jason White – A singer–songwriter who has written hits for Tim McGraw and Carrie Underwood.
  • Jessie Wooten – Innovative young drummer based in Nashville.
  • Ken Paulson – author and narrator of Freedoms Sings, former USA TODAY editor-in-chief, now president of the First Amendment Center and Dean of the College of Media and Entertainment at Middle Tennessee State University.

Click here to view their performance at the legendary Bluebird Cafe

2015-01-29 17.38.20BNC Banquet – Thursday, January 26 – 6:30 p.m.

This annual event honors the winners of the 2015-16 Better Newspaper Contest. Guests are seated at 6:30 p.m. for dinner. Awards program will begin at 7:15 p.m. Event will end by 10:00 p.m. It’s a festive celebration of the Minnesota newspaper industry’s accomplishments. Cash bars will be available through the end of the event. Registration required.

Click here to read more about the winners.

Luncheon Keynote from Patty & Jerry Wetterling – Friday, January 27 – Noon Luncheon

Courtesy Renee Jones Schneider/Star Tribune

Courtesy Renee Jones Schneider/Star Tribune

For 27 years, the Wetterlings refused to lose hope as they searched for their son Jacob who disappeared in October 1989. The Wetterlings will join MNA members to talk about the media’s role in Jacob’s case, how their work to protect children across the country has grown and changed over the years and they will take your questions.

Coverage of the Wetterlings’ speech:
Albert Lea Tribune
Forum News Service
Mankato Free Press

2017 Breakout Sessions

Download a digital copy of the convention program

2017 Speaker Bios (in alphabetical order)
Scroll down to find speaker presentations and handouts shared with MNA

Bill Albrecht in Sioux Falls, S.D., Friday, Jan. 10, 2014. (Emily Spartz / Argus Leader)

Bill Albrecht most recently served as the President and Publisher of Argus Leader Media in Sioux Falls, SD.  Prior to his 18 years of service with Gannett in three different markets in SD, MN and OH.  While Advertising and Marketing are the discipline within the industry he has come up through he has been a Publisher for 15 years handling News, Circulation and Production situations as well.  He is a past Minnesota Newspaper Association Board member and as a Junior Achievement Executive board member for the MN state organization. He is a graduate of the University of South Dakota, Vermillion, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications and a minor in psychology.

Download PowerPoint Presentation
Download Session Handouts

MarkAnfinsonMark Anfinson is the long-time attorney for MNA, and a widely acknowledged expert in media, communications, and First Amendment law.  He has not only acted for MNA, but has also directly represented many journalists and news organizations throughout the state on issues involving public access to government records and meetings, access to courts, libel, privacy, reporter’s privilege, intellectual property, advertising, and Internet law.

Download Legal Update

jacqui-banaszynski-photoJacqui Banaszynski worked in newspapers for 30 years, most recently as projects editor at The Seattle Times, and now teaches students and professionals around the world. She is a Knight Chair Professorship at the Missouri School of Journalism and a faculty fellow at the Poynter Institute. While at the St. Paul Pioneer Press, her series “AIDS in the Heartland” won the 1988 Pulitzer Prize in feature writing. In 1986, her eyewitness account of the African famine was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in international reporting.  Projects she has edited have won national awards for business, investigative, social issues, environmental, human interest and sports reporting. Banaszynski leads workshops for journalists around the world and has served four times as a Pulitzer juror. Jacqui can be reached by email at: banaszynskij@missouri.edu.

Download PowerPoint Presentation
Download Session Handouts

al-getlerAl Getler is President and CEO of Ellie on Wheels Media, LLC. Ellie on Wheels Media, LLC helps existing companies and start-ups build strong strategic direction and brand equity. Ellie on Wheels Media provides full media services to help brands succeed in social media, digital and traditional media marketing plan execution.  Al blogs on leadership, marketing, personal branding and customer service subjects at www.algetler.com and is a sought-after speaker. Former President and Publisher of Free Press Media in Burlington, VT and Group Publisher of the North of Boston Media Group, Getler oversaw the vast growth of EagleTribune.com which included a mobile strategy resulting in tens of thousands of App downloads. He also created a partnership to add Eagle Radio, an online radio station that used the assets of a newspaper with the assets of radio.

jean-healy-pictureJean Healy is a strategic human resource business partner with 20 years of experience in managing human resource functions for Gannett Co., Inc. in three sites in three different states – South Dakota, Minnesota and Montana. Excellent skills in organizational change, budgeting, employee relations, HRIS, safety, development and succession planning. Experienced mentor and coach with excellent leadership and communication skills. Specialties – Certified True Colors trainer – an easy, entertaining way for you to identify your character spectrum to better understand yourself and others.

Download PowerPoint Presentation
Download Session Handout

edhenningerbwEd Henninger has been an independent newspaper consultant since 1989 and is the Director of Henninger Consulting in Rock Hill, SC. He is universally recognized as the world’s leading design consultant for community newspapers. The Southampton Press, one of Ed’s redesign clients, recently was named the Best Community Newspaper in the nation by the National Newspaper Association. From the judges: “Spectacular package of information—news, features, photos, ads—all excellently produced. Clean, fresh design, layout throughout. Great No. 1 in a strong field.” He recently completed redesigns of the Cullman Daily Times in Cullman, AL; the Spencer Evening World in Spencer, IN; The Clay County News in Sutton, NE; the Madelia Times-Messenger in Madelia, MN; and the Holyoke Enterprise in Holyoke, CO. He is now at work with newspapers and magazines in Texas, Nebraska, Massachusetts, Idaho, Georgia and Iowa.

Download Handout

chris-isonChris Ison is an associate professor at the University of Minnesota School of Journalism and Mass Communication, teaching news reporting and media ethics. He spent more than 20 years as a reporter and editor, mostly in the Investigative Projects Unit at the Minneapolis Star Tribune, where he won a Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting in 1990 for a series about the St. Paul Fire Department’s links to people who profited from arson. He was the paper’s assistant managing editor for investigative projects from 2001 – 2004. He is co-author of a textbook on media ethics.

amy-leitzkeAmy Leitzke is  the North Central Market Sales and Distribution Director with Gannett Publishing Services and brings over 15 years of management experience managing customers service and operations.  She currently oversees distribution for 11 Gannett newspaper sites including USA TODAY distribution in Minnesota and North Dakota.  Amy will share her experiences in how to manage continual cutbacks and expense reductions while maintaining high levels of service, along with developing staff.

ginny-lyonGinny Lyon has close to a 20-year history of developing teams and executing marketing and communication strategies in retailing, publishing, sports, non-profit and education. Areas of experience in publishing include newsstand marketing, subscriber acquisition, retention and customer service at The Press of Atlantic City, The Wall Street Journal, New York Post and Barron’s magazine. Prior to working in corporate publishing, she sat on the other side of the table. First, in retail as an executive with Federated Department Stores and later buying and selling a retail business. Second, as a marketing consultant for clients in sports, non-profits and special events; buying advertising, developing promotional proposals, collaborating and executing on good and bad ideas that would serve the best interests of all parties. Currently, an adjunct marketing professor and trainer, she shares her learnings and experience with students and clients looking to improve business practices and elevate the customer experience by providing interactive training sessions for staff.

robin-mcdowellRobin McDowell spent much of the last two decades in Southeast Asia focusing on human rights abuses and social injustices. She began her career in Cambodia in 1993, where she helped set up the country’s first English-language daily newspaper. Soon after, she joined The Associated Press as chief correspondent in the country, covering its bumpy transition from genocide and military rule toward democracy. She helped set up the AP’s regional editing desk in Thailand in 2005. And she spent seven years in Indonesia, overseeing a busy bureau as it responded to everything from al-Qaida-linked terrorist attacks and jetliner crashes to earthquakes and tsunamis. Most recently, McDowell was a correspondent in newly opened up Myanmar, where she reported on the persecution of the Muslim minority community and human trafficking in Southeast Asia’s seafood industry. Still with AP as an investigative reporter, McDowell is now based in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

chris-rhoades-1Chris Rhoades began his career as a financial advisor for Edward Jones Investments in Omaha, where he honed his skills in sales and customer service.  Ten years ago he joined Enterprise Publishing Company in Blair, the Rhoades’ family-owned newspaper and publishing business, with 13 newspapers in Nebraska and Iowa.  In early 2015, Chris and his team launched Courtside Marketing, LLC.   This company provides digital marketing solutions in an agency format, in addition to niche print publications and other marketing services.  Chris received the Nebraska Press Association’s Outstanding Young Journalist Award in 2011 and was NNA’s Daniel M. Phillips Leadership Award winner in 2016.  He now serves as associate publisher of Enterprise Publishing Co., and president of Courtside Marketing.

Selling Against Social PowerPoint Presentation
Stepping Outside Our Footprint PowerPoint Presentation
Download Handouts

lisa-schwarz-1Lisa Schwarz started her career in community journalism as the solo news reporter a weekly paper with just eight employees. She joined the editing ranks with a 10-year stint as managing editor of the Faribault Daily News. She spent the next dozen years as a team leader at the St. Cloud Times, with jobs ranging from night city editor the breaking news editor to audience analyst/content strategist. She was named news director, the newsroom’s top job, in December.

randy-shoultsRandy Shoults has excelled in many aspects of professional sales and leadership over his 30-year career. As a sales professional, he has consistently been a top producer and his abilities as a leader in sales organizations have resulted in increased market share, higher gross margins and reduced turnover. Randy has been successful in a variety of positions with major Fortune 100 corporations, as well as smaller entrepreneurial companies. His professional titles have included: Director of New Business Development, Marketing & Branding Director, Regional Sales Manager and Vice President of Sales & Marketing. Randy has been a Senior Sales/Management Consultant and Facilitator for ProMax Training & Consulting, Inc. for more than 10 years. Randy’s diverse experience and critical thinking skills provide fresh perspectives to the industries that he serves, such as Media/Marketing (both traditional and digital), Technology, Financial Services and Automotive.

Jijim-smithm Smith, National Sales Manager, is in his 26th year of representing the Steel City Corp. During that span, Jim has visited and learned from hundreds- if not thousands- of newspapers, alternative publications and distribution companies across the United States and Canada. He has also worked with numerous international entities beyond North America. During his tenure, the team at Steel City Corp. has been recognized on numerous occasions by the P.A.G.E. (Publishers Associated to Gain Economy) Cooperative as their prestigious President’s Award Winner for servicing the largest number of members of the cooperative. Steel City Corp. has achieved the level of Platinum Preferred Supplier to this group as well.


Russell Viers is an international speaker who, since 1997, has presented in 23 countries for publishing events including the HOW Conference, InDesign Conference, IFRA, PepCon and many more including AdobeMAX, where he was honored as an AdobeMAX Master. In addition to speaking, he has helped many major publications and designers learn techniques to work faster and improve quality including Better Homes and Gardens, Ladies Home Journal, New York Times Regional Papers, Sabah, American Greetings, Crayola and many others. Having started with CompuGraphic typesetting machines in the early 80s, then PageMaker 1 in 1987, Viers has been actively involved with Digital Publishing since the early days. In addition to speaking live, he has done videos for Lynda.com, Peachpit Press and Total Training.

denise-zernechelDenise Zernechel joined Boone Newspapers in December 2016 after over 46 years in the newspaper field that started at The Free Press in Mankato, MN. She is currently the Marketing Manager for the Albert Lea Tribune and the Austin Daily Herald. Denise has held many positions in the NSCMA group including President as well as holding the same positions in the NYSCMA when in New York State. Denise is very active in the Rotary Club, Mankato and other volunteer organizations.