2013 MNA Convention

2013 MNA Convention

2013 Collage2013 MNA Convention | January 24-25

Download a full convention schedule (Updated 01-12-2013)
—See speaker and session details below

 Click here for 2013 Ad Contest Winners

“The Best Just Got Better” Session Winners

1st Place: Chickz Magazine – Echo Press, Alexandria

It’s Fun. It’s Fresh. It’s Fabulous! Chicz is a quarterly new full color glossy magazine featuring Foodz, A Guy’z Perspective. Puzzlez, Health & Fitness, Crafty Chicz, Beauty & Fashionz, Interesting Readz, Home & Gardenz, features on Real Chicz of Douglas County…and more! Something for Chicz of all ages!

For more info, contact editor Tara Bitzan at tbitzan@echopress.com

2nd Place: Children’s Christmas Drawings – Truman Tribune
For more info, contact Nikki Meyer at thetrumantribune@gmail.com

3rd Place: Cartoon Map – Faribault County Register, Blue Earth
For more info, contact Lori Nauman at lnauman@faribaultcountyregister.com

4th Place: Merry Christmas Card Event – Detroit Lakes Newspapers
For more info, contact Mary Brenk at mbrenk@dlnewspapers.com

5th Place: NFL Preview – Kanabec County Times, Mora
For more info, contact Annette Krist at akrist@moramn.com

6th Place: Video Walkarounds – The Free Press, Mankato
For more info, contact David Habrat at dhabrat@mankatofreepress.com


2013 Speakers & Sessions


official_gov-daytonGovernor Mark Dayton
Democrats control the Senate, House and Governor’s Office for the first time in more than two decades. However, that doesn’t mean that there will not be challenges. Minnesota’s fiscal situation is improving, but the state still faces a projected $1.1 billion budget shortfall and owes $1.1 billion to public schools. Governor Dayton unveils his tax proposal plan for his two-year budget on Tuesday, January 22. Learn more about this proposal and what the Governor hopes to achieve in 2013 at this informative and newsworthy event.

Gov. Dayton was born in Minneapolis and raised in a house in Long Lake, where his father still lives today. He has two grown sons, Eric and Andrew, and lives in St. Paul with his three German Shepherds: Mesabi, Mingo and Itasca. For more than 30 years, Gov. Dayton has served Minnesotans, as Commissioner of the Minnesota Departments of Economic Development and of Energy and Economic Development, as State Auditor, and as United States Senator. In 2010, he was elected Minnesota’s 40th Governor.


Andrew Zimmern is a James Beard Award-winning TV personality, chef, food writer, teacher and is regarded as one of the most versatile and knowledgeable personalities in the food world. As the cocreator, host and consulting producer of Travel Channel’s hit series, Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern and Andrew Zimmern’s Bizarre World, he travels the globe, exploring food in its own terroir. From world class restaurants to street carts and jungle markets, it’s all about discovering and sharing the authentic experience.

Zimmern is a contributing editor and award-winning monthly columnist at Minneapolis-St. Paul Magazine and a senior editor at Delta Sky Magazine. As a freelance journalist, his work has appeared in numerous national and international publications including Food and Wine and Saveur.

For more information on Andrew, please visit www.AndrewZimmern.com
Follow Andrew on Twitter @andrewzimmern



Sam Richter is an internationally-recognized expert on sales, marketing, and reputation management. His award-winning experience includes building innovative technology, sales, and marketing programs for start-up companies and some of the world’s most famous brands.  Sam has been featured in thousands of television and radio programs and national and online publications. He presents his customized Know More! keynote and training programs to audiences around the globe.  He is the author of the best-selling book, Take the Cold Out of Cold Calling, considered the preeminent publication on finding information online and using it for sales success.In 2012, Take the Cold was named “Sales Book of the Year” by the American Association of Inside Sales Professionals, and it was also named a “USA Book News Winner” and a “Sales Book Awards Silver Medalist.”

For more information, or to inquire about speaking engagement opportunities, visit www.SamRichter.com
Follow Sam on Twitter @SamRichter

Know More! Selling (Friday AM)
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Know more than you ever thought you could (or should) about your prospects, clients, and competition.  Business and sales is all about personal relationships. When you know more about your prospects and clients, you’re better able to relate on a personal level, build more meaningful connections, identify triggering events, tailor offerings, and ensure relevancy. Most important, studies show that when you practices Sales Intelligence, you’ll win two times more business!

Know More! Reputations (Friday PM)
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Your Personal Brand can Make or Break Your Business Brand! In today’s instant communication and social networking world, it’s easy to share opinions and others can share the same about you. Unfortunately, what you and others post online, text, and even email is not limited to private networks and friend groups. Rather, there’s a good chance that what you say online and what is said about you and your company is searchable, and archived, FOREVER! In “Know More! Reputations” you will learn: What is a “personal brand,” why you already have one, how to enhance it, and how personal brands dramatically impact your company brand and reputation; the dangers of sharing too much information, what can happen if you’re not careful, and how to respond if you don’t like what someone shares about you or your company; inside secrets on how to manage your online presence and Google rankings (for non-technical people) so when people search for information on you, that you control what they find. This thought provoking session will provide you very practical ideas you can immediately implement to improve your brand, and your personal and business reputation.

Bill Albrecht is President of the Media Network of Central Ohio and President and Publisher of The Advocate in Newark, Ohio.  Albrecht joined Gannett in 1998, serving as advertising director of Gannett’s Argus Leader in Sioux Falls, SD, until he was named president and publisher in St. Cloud. Prior to joining Gannett, he worked in sales and marketing for such media companies as Knight-Ridder, Inc., Woodward Communications and Lee Enterprises.


Sell like a Rock Star (Thursday PM)

This session will help new and experienced salespeople develop a plan to succeed.  Topics covered include:

  • Creating a sales plan
  • Uncovering needs and pain points
  • Creating the pitch
  • Overcoming objections
  • Closing techniques



Jim Stasiowski has been the writing coach for The Dolan Company since 2006.  He started his journalism career in 1976 at the THE BREEZE,  a 5,000-circulation daily in Cape Coral, Fla.  In his seven years at THE BREEZE, he worked as a photographer, reporter, editor, editorial writer and columnist. He once even painted the newsroom, with the help of his wife, Sharon.  In 1982, he took a reporting job at THE COLUMBIAN, a 47,000-circulation daily in Vancouver, Wash. He had a general-assignment beat, with a focus in politics. He also wrote humor and political columns. Some readers said they didn’t notice the difference.  In 1989, he moved back to his hometown of Baltimore, Md., and started a writing-coaching business.

Conflict: The core of storytelling (Thursday AM)
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This session will explore the distinction  journalists have to make between fact-listing and actually telling a story. Too many reporters, editors and journalism professors place so much emphasis on piling up facts, they forget that readers want stories.

The Search for  Creativity (Thursday PM)         
This will challenge people in the audience to look at the world the way a truly creative person looks at it. Leave with new ideas!

John Bodette is executive editor of the St. Cloud Times/Times Media. Bodette, 62, started his 38-year journalism career in 1974 as wire editor at the St. Cloud Times. He also served as city editor and news editor. In 1981, he was one of the original journalists on the prototype project that helped create USA Today. He also worked as the graphics editor at the Rochester (N.Y.) Times Union. He was named managing editor at the Times in 1986 and executive editor Dec. 23, 2005. He is a past president of the Minnesota Associated Press Managing Editors Association. He was the winner of the 2008 Robert G. McGruder Award for Diversity Leadership. His favorite journalism quote: “The cherished title of editor must be earned with every edition.” John C. Quinn, retired Gannett chief news executive.

Ethical Guidelines and Principles for Print, Online and Social Media (Thursday AM)
It’s important for media companies to maintain high ethical standards in order to earn and keep the trust of readers.  But as technology changes how we gather information, staffs grow and shrink, and information sharing spreads beyond the traditional printed pages of the newspaper, does maintaining independence and integrity become more difficult?  Are there new rules for ethics in the digital age?  This session will explore best practices and provide solid examples and guides for ethics in print, online and in social media.

PANEL: Covering Disasters in the Digital Age (Friday AM)
No one wants to see their community struck by a disaster, whether it be a devastating storm, epic flood, a destructive fire  or a tragic shooting.  But, these tragedies do happen and community newspapers often take on the role of information provider, storyteller, therapist, and sometimes first responder.  What would you do when tragedy strikes?  What happens when the national media roll into town?  How will you use new media tools to disseminate information and tell the story of what’s going on?  And, how do you tell a potentially horrible story to a town you care for deeply?  Hear from panelists who’ve covered their communities before, during and beyond a tragic event.



  • Dave Pyle, former Minnesota AP Bureau Chief



Julie Bergman has been a newspaper publisher for more than 25 years and owns Page 1 Publications, a group of four community newspapers in Northwestern Minnesota with her husband, Rollin. In addition, she is  Senior Associate of the Midwest Region for W.B. Grimes & Company, a Media Mergers and Acquisitions company based in Maryland. Julie is a well-known consultant and trainer in technology issues for newspapers of all sizes in the Upper Midwest and Canada. She has also been a frequent lecturer for the Community Newspaper Editors and Publishers Leadership program in Minnesota and has led sessions at the national level. She is Past President of the Minnesota Newspaper Association, and is the current President of the Minnesota Newspaper Foundation Board of Directors, Minnesota State Chair for the National Newspaper Association and serves on the Publisher’s Auxiliary Committee.

Challenges and Exciting Opportunities for Small Newspapers (Thursday PM)
Julie will lead an informal discussion on Challenges and exciting opportunities” facing small newspapers. This session is so popular that it has become an annual tradition. Discussions will center on improving your newspaper’s bottom line while maintaining quality. We will explore ideas for special sections, promotions and new revenue streams as well as look at ways to reduce costs. This session is designed mainly for managers and publishers.

Scott Schmeltzer is President and Publisher of the Albert Lea Tribune. He worked for Murphy McGinnis Newspapers based in Duluth, Minnesota prior to coming to Albert Lea. Originally from Marquette, Michigan, Scott went to college in Duluth at The College of St. Scholastica and then Northern Michigan University in Marquette.  Scott started out in newspapers as a salesperson at the Mesabi Daily News in Virginia, Minnesota and eventually worked with the national/regional team at Murphy McGinnis from where he then became Advertising Director in Hibbing until moving to Albert Lea.  Scott also is a big believer in team building. “I absolutely love my Albert Lea Tribune and Austin Daily Herald team,” Schmeltzer states of his co-workers. “We get to do the two things that I love best and that is to laugh and to learn something new every day together.”

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This is an open discussion meant for publishers, ad directors and other team leaders. Bring your questions and ideas.

 Topics of interest for a healthy and prosperous 2013:

  • Stimulating ideas for team motivation
  • Inspire more sales through brilliant enticement
  • Hire the right talent and skills using sales intelligence
  • Encouragement: you are not alone



Gary Sosniecki mug currentGary Sosniecki is a regional sales manager covering a nine-state territory for TownNews.com, which designs and hosts websites for more than 1,500 newspapers of all sizes. He joined TownNews in 2008 after a 34-year newspaper career that included owning, with his wife, Helen, three weekly newspapers and publishing a small daily, all in Missouri. Gary also has worked for newspapers in Tennessee, Illinois and Kansas. He is a past president of the Missouri Press Association, the Ozark Press Association and the Missouri Press Service. Among his many awards are two Golden Quills for editorial writing and, with Helen, the Cervi Award for lifetime achievement from the International Society of Weekly Newspaper Editors (ISWNE). In 2010 he was elected to a three-year term on the ISWNE board. He currently lives in Le Claire, Iowa.

Web Solutions for Community Newspapers (Friday AM)
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Consider this session Internet 101 for weekly and small daily newspapers still exploring ways to find success on the Web.  Sosniecki will talk about why newspapers need to be online, how to make money online, how to post news online without hurting the print product and how to build online traffic.

Website Critiques (Friday PM)
Sosniecki, a former community-newspaper publisher, who now works for a company that designs and hosts newspaper websites will look at and critique your website during this session.  Pre-registration may be required.  Check the MNA registration desk at the Convention for more information.

PANEL: To Paywall or Not to Paywall? (Thursday PM)
This panel discussion, designed by the MNA New Media Committee, will cover a wide range of topics related to paywalls.  What is the predominant format for weekly newspapers?  What is the best strategy to implement a pay wall?  Start off slow, or full paywall? Does implementing a paywall hurt print circulation?  How are newspapers successfully growing online revenue?





Lisa Griffin is a popular trainer at Macintosh training events around the United States and is recognized as a pioneer in the areas of computer pagination and remote printing methods for newspapers. She is the IT Publishing Specialist for Boone Newspapers and a staff member at the University of Tennessee/Tennessee Press Association Institute for Newspaper Technology. Lisa has conducted group training for press associations and newspapers on topics such as Mac Troubleshooting, Adobe InDesign, Adobe PhotoShop, Adobe Illustrator, Quark Xpress, Pagination, and PDF file creation. Since 1983, Lisa has provided consultation, training and support to newspapers as well as other markets.

InDesign: Customizing for Convenience (Friday AM)
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This session will teach attendees how to setup Document Presets, Print Presets, Libraries and other custom settings to streamline the workflow. We will also cover some basic preferences to make sure we take advantage of features. This session does not cover basic tools – a basic working knowledge of product is helpful.

Photoshop Tips and Tricks (Friday PM)
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A fun, fast-paced class that will show correct Preference setup but will then hit highlights of lots of difference techniques. We will cover Camera Raw if time allows.


CIRCULATION – Programming courtesy the Northern States Circulation Managers Association

Denise R. ZernechelHot Ideas From Around The Globe (Thursday AM)
Denise will present some Hot Idea topics from other newspapers and will have an open forum for all to participate.

Denise Zernechel began her newspaper career in 1970 as a part-time inserter in the mailroom at The Free Press (Mankato) –back then all inserting had to be done by hand.  Throughtout the years she has done telemarketing, production work, been a Mailroom Director; as well as been in every area of the Circulation Department. Most of her training was when she was with The Free Press which was an independent and then was purchased by Ottaway which was a subsidiary of Dow Jones. Denise started at The Free Press, Mankato, MN,  then has held several management positions at: The Standard-Times, New Bedford, MA; The Daily Star, Oneonta, NY; The Recorder, Amsterdam, NY; The Daily Sentinel, Rome, NY and is now back full circle and is currently The Director of Circulation – CNHI Capital Division at The Free Press.

Envisioning America’s Future Postal Service (Thursday AM)

Erv Drewek is the Manager of Distribution & Postal Affairs for Brown Printing Company – Logistics Services headquartered in Waseca, Minnesota. Before joining Brown Printing, Erv was with Primedia Business Publications in Overland Park, Kansas. He has also worked for the printing operations of former Banta Publications Group and the former Ringier America. He started his mailing career with Advo Systems. As a function of the Brown Logistics Services department, the Distribution & Postal Affairs Manager is the primary liaison between the U.S. Postal Service and all Brown Printing Company divisions. The position has the responsibility of providing customer guidance on postal matters, and is the main source of postal regulatory information for internal operations. Erv has a mailing career spanning over 25 years in postal affairs, and specializes in the content and characteristics of Periodicals publications.

Michael Ferry_PDIn Command of Scan Billing While Taking Charge of Your Sales Opportunities (Thursday PM)

Mike Ferry joined The Plain Dealer in 1985 and since that time has served in a variety of management positions within the Circulation Division including Call Center Supervisor, Sales Promotion Manager, Systems Development Manager and Newspaper in Education Manager.  Ferry was featured in Presstime Magazine in 1999 as a “20 under 40” award recipient.  Prior to The Plain Dealer, Ferry served as the Circulation Manager for the TAB newspaper group, the largest chain of weekly newspapers in the Greater-Boston area.

Jim SantoriRIP Circulation Department. Usher in the “Readership Fulfillment Department” (Friday AM)

Jim Santori, publisher of The Free Press Media in Mankato, Minnesota, is a veteran newsman having served 15 years in newsrooms with Lindsay-Schaub and then Lee Enterprises. He then served 19 years as a publisher with Lee and now Community Newspaper Holdings Inc.  He has worked with news organizations in Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Wisconsin and Minnesota. Besides news, his background includes marketing, magazine publishing, nascent online ventures and numerous community advocacy roles.  Jim’s alternative ventures include integrating online/social media into small- to medium-sized newsrooms; developing performance appraisals, accountability standards and quality measures; and, in general, trying to find new and profitable ways to present “journalism.”

John BodetteFull-access Subscription Model – The St Cloud Times Story (Friday AM)

John Bodette is executive editor of the St. Cloud Times/Times Media. Bodette, 62, started his 38-year journalism career in 1974 as wire editor at the St. Cloud Times. He also served as city editor and news editor. In 1981, he was one of the original journalists on the prototype project that helped create USA Today. He also worked as the graphics editor at the Rochester (N.Y.) Times Union. He was named managing editor at the Times in 1986 and executive editor Dec. 23, 2005. He is a past president of the Minnesota Associated Press Managing Editors Association. He was the winner of the 2008 Robert G. McGruder Award for Diversity Leadership. His favorite journalism quote: “The cherished title of editor must be earned with every edition.” John C. Quinn, retired Gannett chief news executive.

Kerri Kava 12.11.12The New Look of NIE – How The Forum Made it Work (Friday PM)

Kerri Kava began her newspaper career in 2008 when a “Newspapers in Education Coordinator” position caught her eye. In those 4 short years, while leading the program, she has had tremendous success in bringing the program to a new place that is now open, not only to public and private school teachers, but now also to parents, grandparents and as she says, “anyone who wants to learn.” After a major re-branding and website revamp last summer The Forum NIE program is now known as The Learning Forum. Kerri has lead marketing efforts for The Learning Forum program in both print and media commercials to promote this transformation. Kerri has also lead donations for The Learning Forum program to an all-time high in 2012, increasing yearly donations that cover newspaper costs by over 35% since 2008. Kerri is excited to share with you some of the changes she has made and what she has had success with at The Forum.