MNA Nominating Committee Report

MNA Nominating Committee Report


Justin R. Lessman

MNA’s Nominating Committee has asked Justin Lessman to stand for election to the MNA Board of Directors

Justin R. Lessman is general manager and owner of Jackson-based Livewire Printing Co., publisher of three award-winning community newspapers — the Jackson County Pilot, the Lakefield Standard and the Livewire — and a publishing partner in the regional Southern Minnesota Peach group shopper.

Lessman grew up on a farm in rural Tracy, where he was active in 4-H and FFA. He received his undergraduate degree in agricultural journalism from South Dakota State University in Brookings, S.D. As lead staff writer for the SDSU Collegian, he was awarded a William Randolph Hearst Award for in-depth reporting.

He edited an award-winning semi-weekly newspaper in Powell, Wyo., for three and half years, overseeing a talented news staff annually recognized for excellence in journalism by the Wyoming Press Association. While there, he helped found a photography club and was a regular guest on Wyoming Public Radio’s Journalism Roundtable program.

He taught journalism at Kansas State University’s A.Q. Miller School of Journalism from 2006 to 2007 while working toward his master’s degree in mass communications. His thesis explored ethical decision-making processes of community journalists and the effect of community standards on those processes. His scholarship has been presented at various international conferences and has received top association awards. While at K-State, he also served as interim adviser to the 90-member news staff of the daily K-State Collegian and assistant adviser to the 15-member staff of the school’s alumni magazine. He coauthored and edited the book “Community Readiness Communications: Accurate Messages in Times of Crisis,” published in 2007.

He joined Livewire Printing Co. in 2008 and helped lead the flagship Jackson County Pilot to first-place general excellence honors in the Minnesota Newspaper Association’s Better Newspaper Contest the past two years. He is a 2010 graduate of the Minnesota News Media Institute and Blandin Foundation Rural Editors and Publishers Community Leadership Program and has served on the MNA’s Journalism Education Committee since 2011.

He makes his home in Jackson with his wife, Amber, and three children, Taryn, 8; Caledon, 6; and Messina, 3.

At 2:00 p.m. on Thursday, January 29, Nominating Committee Chairman Rollin Bergman will receive further nominations for officers and directors at the Member Services Booth at the MNA Convention.