Each week of the 2019 Session of the North Dakota Legislature one newspaper will be designated Newspaper of the Week. During the week, copies of that newspaper will be distributed to all members of the Legislature as well as to various state agency offices.
For the first time, the annual grant program of the NDNA Education Foundation will exceed $100,000. The 2019 grant package is mixed with tried and true programs like internships and the State Spelling Bee as well as new programs like a Grand Forks Herald public reporting project and a student news writing competition.
Matthew Von Pinnon, editor of The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead, has been appointed to a seat on the board of directors of NDNA. He replaces Matt McMillan, who resigned after taking a newspaper job in Minnesota. Von Pinnon has worked at The Forum for 24 years, the last 12 as editor.
In North Dakota, Sen. Heidi Heitkamp and Rep. Kevin Cramer have signed on as co-sponsors of bills to provide relief to newspapers whose costs have dramatically increased as a result of newsprint tariffs. In addition, 19 members of Congress testified at the International Trade Commission's hearing last month in opposition to the newsprint tariffs. NDNA is a member of the STOPP Coalition, a national group fighting the tariffs.
The NDNA Government Relations Committee will focus on transparency issues when it convenes Friday, July 13 in Bismarck. At the top of the committee's agenda is discussion of a bill draft that would give counties the option of publishing their minutes online rather than in newspapers. There also are several other matters that threaten to chip away at government transparency, said Committee Chairman Tom Monilaws, general manager of the Traill County Tribune in Mayville.
Just as the election campaign enters its final stages, NDNA will host a debate between U.S.Senate candidates Heidi Heitkamp and Kevin Cramer. The debate is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 18 at the Bismarck Public School's Career Academy at Bismarck State College.
The Canadian government has something in common with North Dakota newspapers -- opposition to tariffs on the sale of Canadian newsprint. The federal tariffs on Canadian paper products have dramatically increased printing costs for U.S. newspapers, with some taking price increases as high as 32 percent.