The Gannett Company-owned St. Cloud Times is located at 3000 Seventh St. North, St. Cloud, Minn.
“A good newspaper is like a community talking to itself,” says Executive Editor John Bodette. As the community goes deeper into the digital age, he wants The St. Cloud Times to be the place the community goes to have those conversations.
Bodette learned early in his 37-year career at The Times that “local news matters.” The Times emphasizes their watchdog role in the community by running an investigative story every Sunday. Times reporters Kirsti Marohn and Britt Johnsen were awarded the Sigma Delta Chi Award and Bronze Medallion by the Society of Professional Journalists for their 2010 investigative series Gambling on Growth (click on Enterprise Stories).
2011 is the 150th anniversary year for the St. Cloud Times (click on Story of the Newspaper), and Bodette and Scott Johnson, president and publisher of The St. Cloud Times are optimistic about its future. Bodette recalls the many good editors over those 150 years who “dealt with grasshopper plagues, floods, tornadoes, world wars, and depressions, and it [the newspaper] made it through. What we do is important. It’s a noble calling,” says Bodette.
Johnson says, “If you want to learn about news you couldn’t be in a better place because you’re going to do it all.” Despite concerns about the future of newspapers, Johnson says you need to see the future in context. “Pick an industry where there isn’t a bit of pessimism,” says Johnson. This is the most exciting time to be in this industry, says Johnson, “because we get to help chart the course….”
Assistant Managing Editor/Digital Mike Knaak identifies the skills needed for a job such as his. “People get distracted by the technology. That’s not what’s important,” says Knaak. What’s important, he says, is curiosity, respect for words and ideas, and the ability to learn. Over the course of a journalist’s career, “The technology will change many times, but capturing a good story and figuring out the best way to present the story to your audience, will not change. What’s important is the passion for the audience,” says Knaak.
Click on Johnson’s interview (and the Backgrounder) to learn more about The Times’ growing digital revenue and their success with mobile ad sales.
In Journalists’ Epiphanies (J-Epiphanies on the toolbar) listen to Johnson, Bodette and Knaak talk about a time when the power and purpose of journalism became clear to them.
Coming Next in the Prairie States series: The (Mitchell, SD) Republic and The Grand Forks (ND) Herald followed by a Bonus Interview with Joel Kramer, editor and CEO of MinnPost.com.
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-- Sara Brown and Paul Steinle