Reed Anfinson, Benson, MN, was elected to a two-year term as president of the National Newspaper Association Foundation at the organization’s annual meeting in Tulsa, OK, Oct. 5. The meeting was conducted in connection with the National Newspaper Association’s annual convention. Anfinson served the past two years as the foundation’s vice president.
As president of the foundation, Anfinson was also named to the National Newspaper Association Board of Directors for 2017-2018.
Anfinson is the publisher and owner of the Swift County Monitor-News in Benson, and the Grant County Herald, Herman Review and Hoffman Tribune published out of Elbow Lake.
He is a partner in Quinco Press, Inc., a central printing plant in Lowry, MN, that prints 30 newspapers as well as other publications. He is a 1977 graduate of the University of Minnesota School of Journalism and Mass Communications in Minneapolis.
“Community newspapers are essential to an informed and engaged electorate,” Anfinson said. “In most smaller communities the newspaper reporter is the ‘public’ when it comes to attending meetings of city councils, school boards, county commissions, hospital boards and other public bodies.
“Without the newspaper present, the stories of what elected and appointed officials discuss go unreported,” he said. “We know where that scenario too often leads – corruption and abuse of power.”
As president of the National Newspaper Association Foundation, Anfinson said he would focus on raising public awareness about the essential role community newspapers play in a democracy and the threats they face in this internet age.
“But we do much more than just provide citizens essential civic news, we also bind communities together through the stories we tell of the people who live with us. We tell the stories of the challenges we face as a community. Those shared stories bring us together with a common purpose.”
In communities that have lost their newspapers, participation in elections falls, the number of people running for public office and serving on public boards and commissions declines, and people are less likely to show up for community events, he said.
Anfinson served six years as the National Newspaper Association Region 6 director representing newspapers in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin. He served as president of the 2,300-member association from September 2011 to October 2012.
In 1999-2000, Anfinson served as president of the Minnesota Newspaper Association (MNA) and was a member of its board for nine years. Anfinson has served on the MNA Legislative Committee since 1994 and currently serves as its chair. He served six years on the Minnesota News Council hearing panel and later served as its vice president.
In 2003, he was awarded MNA’s Al McIntosh Distinguished Service to Journalism Award, the highest honor given by the association. In March 2010, the Minnesota Coalition on Government Information named Anfinson the winner of the John R. Finnegan Freedom of Information Award. In 2013, St. Cloud State University presented him with its First Amendment Award.
In 2016, Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton named Anfinson to the Center for Rural Policy and Development, a body that advises the Minnesota Legislature on rural issues.
Anfinson has served on the Benson Industrial Development Corporation board for more than 25 years and has served twice on the Benson Economic Development Authority.
After his daughter spent 104 days at the University of Minnesota’s Variety Club Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis between October 1986 and January 1987, he became a member of the first Parents Advisory Committee for the hospital.