What does summer look like to you?

Those of you who have read this column from the beginning know that I use this space both to explain the internal workings of Minot Daily News and also to preview and describe the various changes we have made over the past year-plus. Occasionally, I also launch various interactive projects and solicit contributions of various types from readers.

This week, let’s try combining a couple of those motivations.

First, thank you to those of you who have submitted letters and otherwise reached out to us with your comments and suggestions. A particular thanks for the thoughtful gentleman who left the overseas newspapers and note in my office (interesting!) and the artist from New Town who left the handmade greeting cards.

However, as many of you can probably guess, I am going to continue to ask for letters to the editor that I can print. While the volumes of encouraging words are most heartwarming, for us, in the end, it is all about what appears in print and getting information out to the public so residents are informed decision-makers. As I have shared many times, one of my goals is to receive enough letters to the editor from our coverage area to include some in every issue of the paper. If just half our letter writers were comfortable with their names in print, I could check that goal off my list!

Now that we’re back on familiar ground with me once again asking you for things, I am going to double down and ask for more.

At the end of this summer, my intention is to publish a photo essay featuring photography that embodies summer in our part of North Dakota. Now, the photos could be of a quintessential summer setting, something environmental, moody, personal or panoramic… anything. I am, in fact, reluctant to set any more “rules” for what I am looking for. That’s because I am asking you to participate and share your visions of summer.

My hope it to inspire readers to see the world around them in the months ahead from a photographer’s perspective, explore their own creativity and sensibility and share their vision with all of our readers. I envision the end product as featuring a number of submitted photographs, including one or more positioned prominently in the newspaper and also featuring a get-to-know-you interview with one or more photographer. There are no other rules, there is no real contest and it doesn’t matter if you are a professional photographer or a grandparent with a camera phone. We’ll feature the images that most inspire us to think “summer.”

Looking for a keepsake to remember this summer? Hoping for some exposure of your photography talent? Have a particularly photogenic pet? Know a secret spot from which to capture the best sunset photography in Minot or a breathtaking view of Sakakawea?

Let’s see what you can do. Importantly, let’s see what most says “summer” to you!

The plan is to produce the photo essay at the end of the summer. Yes, I have now been here long enough to know that summer could end in snowfall in September. But that’s one of the aspects that makes the project so appealing – so many variations on the theme, so many ways to tell the “story” of summer in our little part of the world.

This signs of summer photo essay is just one part of some new initiatives we will be rolling out in the months ahead. We’ll discuss more of those in the weeks ahead. Certainly, though, fostering interactive cooperation with readers remains a prime objective.

As always, we are open to ideas you might have on how we can enhance your Minot Daily News experience.

Please feel free to submit your summer scene photograph with your name and phone number directly to me at msasser@minotdailynews.com.

Letters, comments and suggestions are also welcome!