To present news, ideas, perspective, and local content that informs the decisions and direction of our community and enriches the lives of our readers through a user-friendly, open publishing platform.
Our place in the world and current circumstance creates a set of challenges unique to Minot. We’ll seek out the content, practices, ideas, which are most relevant to the opportunities in front of us while elevating those things that enforce our unique past and sense of place. Because what’s good for Minot will be good for everyone in Minot.
It’s not a dirty word. But how we define and go about achieving it are certainly worthy of a community conversation. And if you become a regular reader, you’ll find a steady diet of stories about new approaches to old problems and disdain for the “because that’s the way we’ve always done it” logic.
The manner in which we reach for progress is as important as the end result. Collaborative, inclusive, open, transparent — these are buzzwords attached to community innovation today. And they’re worth honoring in action and intention.
We all define it differently, but we’re all chasing it. And we will all benefit if we can create a community of opportunity.
These are the things we’re always doing.
Promote Minot-Focused Global Citizenship
We’re taking a bottom-up world view. Our priority is Minot, then North Dakota, then the United States, and then the World. But in return for the outside ideas and information that enrich and improve Minot, we owe back the burden of being informed, responsible, globally conscious citizens.
Put Readers and Users First
You, the reader, are our most valuable asset. Your experience on our site, your experience with the news, your experience with our advertisers — they are all critical to our success. How our actions affect your end experience is always first among our concerns.
Be Transparent to Earn Trust
The story of the teller will always influence the telling of the story. Yes, we have opinions on issues both local and beyond. No, you will not always agree with them. But with news we publish and commentary we provide, we’ll strive to get you with the context for our coverage, information about the source, and references for you to check.
Aim for Better Information
The great irony of the information age is that reliable, accurate information is harder than ever to find. We’ll dig in deep on complex issues, provide citation and reference when applicable, and constantly stay on the lookout for the simplest ways to communicate content.
Be Critical and Constructive
Local media has an essential role to push back against leadership, force them to justify actions and decisions and hold them accountable to outcomes. That’s our job, and we won’t shy away from it because it’s uncomfortable to say hard things. But we won’t exclusively tear down either. And when we’re particularly tough on policy, we’ll attempt to offer an alternative path forward.
Groupthink: a psychological phenomenon that occurs within a group of people in which the desire for harmony or conformity in the group results in an irrational or dysfunctional decision-making outcome.
Seek and Promote Oppositional Perspectives
As a news provider, we’ll endeavor to stay self-aware of our editorial leanings and seek content born from a different set of values.
We can always do better.
The Values that Shape the Content
In the simplest sense, these are the things we believe.
The job of producing and communicating news and editorializing local issues in a small town is fraught with areas of conflict. It is not easy, we aren’t always successful, and the job is never complete. But the role of journalism and high ideals of the profession are always in mind.
Freedom & Personal Responsibility
It’s probably the most cherished American value. If the actions of an individual do no harm to another and do no harm to our jointly held resources, then we need to be overtly cognizant of placing restrictions on those actions. It’s important because many community actions — laws we make on behalf of the community — are likely to curtail personal freedoms. In those cases, our justifications need solid foundations.
Safety, Security, Diversity
In daily life, in economics, in thought, and in experience — safety, security, and diversity all feed prosperity.
A Fair Game
Free markets spur competition, competition rewards ability and innovation and fosters a culture of improvement. So how do we attract competitors? By building a level playing field, providing a neutral referee, and letting people play. If we create this culture of opportunity, we won’t have to provide ‘incentives’ to those interested in investing in Minot.
Innovative, Efficient, Open, Transparent government
Innovation and efficiency are products of competition. But the government has no competitors, so we need to be intentional in our commitment to these values. Openness and transparency have stand-alone merit, but beyond that, they are big factors in the equation that output trust.
Access to and gathering data that informs discussions and decisions has never been easier; it means we have fewer excuses for the decisions that lead to poor outcomes. If we’re willing to look for it and listen to it, the data alone will lead us most of the way to the water.
The Defining Qualities of a Quality Life
Quality of life is the outcome of a personal equation for all of us, and the factors include measurable metrics and lots of other intangible things too. But the one thing we all have in common — it’s the little moments in between the big events where we all spend most of our time. It’s the weekly night out to eat, the minutes during our commute to work, the Saturday afternoon at the neighborhood park, the trip from the car to the door — these are the bulk experiences of our lives. So, we should always be on the lookout for ways to add flavor and enrich those aspects of a Minot life.
Beware the Unintended Consequences
The road to hell is paved with good intentions; it’s cliche because it is true often enough to be memorable. And then there’s the third law of physics, “for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.” Both should be considered before efforts toward progress are taken up.
Extra Attention for the Environment
Free markets work best when information is readily available so we can all make decisions that are best for us. But when it comes to the environment, the damages our activities incur are difficult to see, expensive to clean up, and may not culminate until far into the future. In other words, our current actions toward the environment are often based on incomplete information. For this reason, environmental protection is an essential role of the media and the government.
Note: Please do not read the above as an endorsement of current environmental policy and practice. The only point is that environmental protection is a role we need government to fill. Opinion: Environmental policy implications are huge in North Dakota, and we always need to be aware of their impacts on jobs, families, farms, and communities. That said, we’d do well to take on an aggressive policy of self-policing born from a culture of personal responsibility that proactively addresses environmental issues. That attitude and the personal actions that result would render Federal policy largely irrelevant.
On the Issues
In the time we’ve been publishing, there have been strong positions taken on numerous Minot issues. These positions are an end result of a process that filters through up through our values, guiding principles, and mission.
Flood Protection: there is no higher priority for Minot. The economic implications of failure to build a project that removes valley homes from the FEMA’s floodplain and the resulting required flood insurance are staggering to consider. On the safety and security that fuel prosperity, this is THE issue for Minot’s immediate and long-term future.
#MakeMinot: Our position on the City Council reform issue was for progress, for Minot, for open, transparent, data-driven, government.
Liquor License Reform: if we’re going to walk the walk toward economic diversity and community prosperity, then we need a business marketplace that’s open to new ideas and investment — even in the liquor businesses. We can’t afford to say no — and shouldn’t as a principle — put the government in a position of saying some people can have a business and other people can’t. Let businesses compete — even new ones — and let the customers choose the winners.
The MARC: Editorial support for the MARC was a question of quality of life and a progressive, regional funding mechanism for the Park District more in-line with those who enjoy the benefits. It’s worthy of revision and reconsideration at some point, but only once Minot government as a whole has addressed more pressing issues, demonstrated some restraint, and delivered a plan for a sustainable financial future.
Restoring the River: For the environment, for quality of life, for a demonstration of innovative, efficient government, this is a community-changing concept worthy of a full endorsement and open advocacy. Will it be difficult? Yes. Does it seem misprioritized? No, not if we use the concept to bolster our efforts to secure a federal partner for flood protection and make our dollars count twice.
Anne Street Bridge: There is a less-than-open agenda to remove the bridge within the City. To do that, usage must be reduced. To reduce usage, one would start by restricting access. This method is the antithesis of open, transparent government. Besides, the bridge is a regularly used piece of our pedestrian infrastructure that contributes enormously to our quality of life, cultural heritage, and unique sense of place.
Backyard Hens: When we’re curtailing personal freedoms in the interest of community outcomes, we should do so only with evidence and data that defends the argument to do so. Anecdotal personal experience is not enough to restrict another individual’s rights, especially on an issue so closely tied to our rich agricultural heritage.