“Focus on the Future” was the theme in late January during the annual convention of the Minnesota Newspaper Association held in Bloomington on the southwest side of the Twin Cities.

“We’re not dead yet,” said Mike Dalton, MNA president from Cannon Falls, west of Red Wing in southeastern Minnesota.

“On the contrary, we need to let our readers know that we’re not going anywhere. In fact, we’re focused on how to continue being the cornerstones of our communities this year, next year and in the future.”

Dalton, a fifth-generation publisher, fully acknowledges the many changes and challenges facing newspapers in 2019. However, he echoes guest speakers at the convention on Jan. 24 and Jan. 25 who emphasized that those in the journalism profession are willing to keep up with changing times.

It’s a new era with not only newsprint but also with newspaper staff work on web design, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, email accounts and other communications related to social media.

Creating more partnerships between newspaper writers and newspaper readers was emphasized by John Hatcher, journalism professor at the University of Minnesota, Duluth.

“Ask your readers for their input before you begin writing a story,” said Hatcher to MNA members. “You need to do this as part of your engagement to local communities.”

He went on to say that engagement with readers is necessary if writers at newspapers want their work to remain relevant.

“Healthy local news is part of a healthy local democracy,” Hatcher emphasized.

Classmate had

second chance

with academics

Mark Rostad, a member of the Fergus Falls High School Class of 1966 and who died on Jan. 25, was proud that he finally buckled down academically while in military service.

He obtained his GED while in the military and contacted our high school counselor Hal Leland to see if he could be added to our class list. Hal, who later was employed as a counselor at the community college and who served as mayor of Fergus Falls, granted Mark’s wish.

Rostad was very happy to be a part of the FFHS Class of 1966. He will be missed but long remembered by me and close classmates such as Carlton Bjerkaas, Steve Bradt, Dick Richards, John Wiese, Judy Anderson Stock, Don LeRoy and others.

“Mark and I were friends since fifth grade at Eisenhower Elementary school,” Wiese said. “He was a good man and I always appreciated his friendship.”

Wiese said that each year Rostad would host a Fourth of July gathering at his house on the west side of Otter Tail Lake for family and friends.

“It was special to watch the Otter Tail Lake Fourth of July parade pass by in front of Mark’s house,” Wiese added.

Maris still missing from the Hall of Fame

It’s sad that, in light of recent additions to the Baseball Hall of Fame, that Fargo native Roger Maris is not a part of this elite group of players.

Maris was a star athlete with the New York Yankees and St. Louis Cardinals, was a two-time American League MVP, a member of seven World Series teams, was a three-time World Series championship team member, gold glove outfielder, seven-time all-star team member and broke Babe Ruth’s single-season home run record in 1961.

He collected 10 hits and batted .385 as a member of the 1967 World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals who defeated the Boston Red Sox 4 games to 3.

The Fargo native, who died at 51 after battling cancer in 1985, was also a standout football player at Shanley High School. He was a great family man with wife Pat and their six children.

Maris, although not recognized as a Hall of Fame member in Cooperstown, New York, remains as a hall of famer in the hearts of millions of his fans across the nation.

Tom Hintgen is a longtime Daily Journal columnist. His column appears Saturdays.

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