On Friday, August 23, editors and publishers from eight papers across the state graduated from the Editors & Publishers Community Leadership Program. Founded in 2005, and modeled after the Blandin Foundation’s successful Community Leadership Program, the program helps editor – publisher pairs develop community leadership and vision skills. The program helps newspapers develop and strengthen social capital within their communities and helps advance the health and vibrancy of their communities.
Cohort 9 included:
Battle Lake Review: Ed Pawlenty, Publisher & Janet Widness, Editor
Maple Lake Messenger: Ed Pawlenty, Publisher & Gabe Licht, Editor
The Northern Light Region, Baudette: Rollin Bergman, Publisher & Doris Knutson, Editor
North Star News, Karlstad: Rollin Bergman, Publisher & Dan Nordine, Editor
Fulda Free Press: Jerry Johnson, Publisher
Citizen’s Advocate, Henning: Chad Koenen, Publisher
Parkers Prairie Independent: Jakki Wehking & Jennifer Marquardt, Co-publishers
Pine City Pioneer: Wade Weber, Publisher & Mike Gainor, Editor
As part of the program, participants spend an intensive three-day retreat, learning the concepts of framing, social capital and mobilization. The Minnesota News Media Institute works in partnership with the Center for Small Towns at the University of Minnesota Morris to conduct a content assessment of each participating newspaper based on the Eight Dimensions of a Healthy Community.
Participants also prepare a community leadership project, utilizing skills developed during the four-month program. Community leadership projects ranged from developing long-term coverage strategies for upcoming bond and levy campaigns and local environmental issues; helping their community raise funds for a new aquatic center; helping guide their communities through large, disruptive road construction projects; developing a new community celebration for the quiet winter months; and creating a series of stories that will help explain why people choose to settle in and stay in their small rural community, among others.
The Editors & Publishers Community Leadership Program is funded generously by the Blandin Foundation. Program participants gain inclusive access to the program, including tuition, meals, and lodging. All costs are covered by the Minnesota Newspaper Association, the Minnesota News Media Institute and the Blandin Foundation. Each year, eight newspapers are chosen to participate in the Editors & Publishers Community Leadership Program. To apply, editor-publisher teams interested in being considered for future programs should send an email to Lisa Hills at firstname.lastname@example.org or Sarah Bauer at email@example.com.