June flotsam & jetsam

It’s hard to determine what the best part of June in Minot is. Is it the weather? Is it the outdoor opportunities for fun now that the weather is more moderate? Is it the close time proximity to the North Dakota State Fair?

But with anticipation of all these things on many people’s minds, following are a few thoughts from life around the Minot Daily News over the past few weeks.

A successful election

While statewide and Ward County voter participation numbers were poor, Minot’s weren’t bad, relative to the past few elections. Election Day traffic at the Auditorium appeared brisk, even busy many times of the day, Tuesday. For a news entity, this is very rewarding to see. Every day of the year, our news team works diligently to bring the community news of what is going on politically, since it is these things that have the most impact on our everyday lives. So, when the public is engaged enough to come out and vote, it demonstrates that the public is taking responsibility for its own future, for making the decisions on how to shape the community’s future. Whether voters are our readers or not, public engagement is extremely rewarding, and studies around the nation show that newspaper readers tend to be voters. While we hope that our coverage of local issues inspired people to vote, it is good to see improved voter number numbers in any event.

A successful election isn’t just qualified by voter participation. It is the candidates. Minot enjoyed such a good assortment of good candidates this year that it must have been a tough decision for many. Shoot, well qualified candidates for different offices, almost certain to be good public servants, lost or came in second or third place in primaries. This was one of the best cast of candidates in recent memory and every one of them should be proud of their campaign efforts and their willingness to serve.

On behalf of the entire paper, as a personal note, I want to thank all of those people who called, wrote or approached MDN staff with thanks for the four candidate forums we sponsored. In total, almost a thousand people participated in the forums. While we are grateful for the compliments, I want to remind everyone that we did have partners this year and they were integral to our success. These included series-wide partner the Minot Chamber of Commerce, and the venue partners – Roosevelt Park Zoo, Minot State University, the State Fair Center and our good friends at the Grand Hotel. These hosts enables us to spread our events around and bring them out to community, while showcasing some of the great venues doing good things for the community.

Announcements coming soon

Minot Daily News has re-committed itself to public and community events this year. We enjoy those events that allow us to bring programs to the community and which allow us to spend time meeting and speaking to readers and residents. We’ve already been in negotiations to bring two or three events to town in the late summer or fall and hope to be able to announce some details soon. Watch the news pages or this column space for information. Our events should be a lot of fun and will definitely be of value to the community. We expect this to be a long-term commitment with returning and new events in the years ahead.

Special features continue

MDN’s Artist Profile and Craftsperson profiles continue and we are always looking for new regional residents to spotlight. I am really pleased that we have heard from enough artists to feature 2-4 new creative people a month for more than a year, with a few still to come. It’s been particularly gratifying to feature so many young artists, and we hope our small effort helps these creative artists reach broader audiences. There are so many good artists in our region. Personally, I have a dozen pieces of work from North Dakota artists around my home or waiting to be installed. N.D. artists have such diverse perspectives, such interesting eyes for the beauty of our state, that it is a delight to collect pieces of art. Here’s something new art fans don’t always understand. You don’t have to be rich (hello! I work in newspaper) to begin collecting local art. It’s rewarding, you easily develop a unique and local collection, it isn’t costly and you support young and aspiring artists.

That said, we need more to continue our features! Besides visual artists, I am looking for performing artists to feature. I am shocked to have not heard from more vocalists, musicians, actors, directors, etc. There aren’t that many opportunities to reach local residents and introduce yourself other than the cover of our Arts section and I would really like to talk music and theater with people way more talented than me! If you fall into that category, or are a visual artist we have yet to profile, please drop me a line!

Regardless of your topic, concern or opinion, please feel free to reach out to me directly. As always, our interactive communication is the most inspiring and rewarding part of what we do. And that means something. Because at MDN, every day is a new adventure, with a new storyline, that makes us love what we do.