« Students bring energy, strong voices to diversity dialogue | Main | Minnesota Journalism Center Update »

New location, enhanced web presence highlights past year

There are many reasons for the Minnesota Daily staff to be proud as they review their improvements and celebrate their accomplishments.

Getting accustomed to a new location, implementing new features, enhancing their Web site and approaching it all with enthusiasm is giving the staff at The Minnesota Daily a lot of reasons to be proud.

The three people heading up those activities served as the paper's 2006-07 Office of the Publisher -- editor-in-chief Anna Weggel, president Anna Leisa Sauser and business manager Scott Sailer. As they look back over the year and discuss the improvements they've seen, they can't help but express a bit of pride at the accomplishments.

Editorial Division, Anna Weggel

Anna WeggelI couldn't possibly be more proud of the progress made by the Daily over the past year. Since last summer, we have added useful features to our paper, including an events calendar, organized news sections, an "on the street" feature that showcases a different person around campus every day, additional backtalk features and world news briefs. Readers can now comment on any story they choose via our Web site. Within the staff, we reorganized our newsroom to include a projects desk to integrate more investigative and project-based journalism into our news coverage.

But more importantly, I've seen real growth within our employees over the past year. The Editorial Division has become a unified force, with all departments getting along well and jumping at the chance to help each other and to help the paper become what we all want it to be. I can't believe the level of dedication and sacrifice that I see in the people who work at the Daily. I really do believe their enthusiasm and drive is unparalleled at the University and for people our age, and I'm so thankful for getting the chance to work with such inspiring people every day.

I believe the Daily is going to continue to improve year after year. Here's to the next successful 107 years of The Minnesota Daily.

Administrative Division, Anna Leisa Sauser

Anna Leisa SauserThe Daily has truly evolved this year. Change requires a lot of work, but our staff has taken on the challenges with incredible optimism. Our first major transition of the year was our move. We switched locales -- from our old, familiar building to a new space -- with ease. Then, we added new features, such as an events calendar in the paper and online comment capability on the Web site.

With all those changes, our goal was to help our community communicate. We want journalism to be digested and used. We want our campus community to feel that it is a crucial focus of our work. We want to represent the deeper issues and concerns facing students today. In order to do that, we also developed a readership advisory board. This body of students, faculty and staff serves as a long-term focus group. Even now, we are looking for students who want to continually monitor the Daily and report back with their perceptions, concerns and ideas. (E-mail one of the co-publishers if you're interested! You can find our e-mail addresses on the Web site: (http://www.mndaily.com.)

In the end, we strive to be a paper by the people, for the people. And we hope readers sense that in every article.

Business Division, Scott Sailer

Scott SailerFrom a business view, The Minnesota Daily had a very successful year and has accomplished a broad array of projects and initiatives to prepare the organization for the future. Some exciting highlights include the launch of the Drink & Dine Web page, strong fiscal health, the exploration of new revenue streams, and online growth.

Drink & Dine is a concept that has been in the works for more than two years. It is a comprehensive and searchable online database of all the bars and restaurants in and around campus. The initial launch in September resulted in about 9,000 page views for the month. This result was adequate, but not up to our standards. A massive redesign was executed and a detailed marketing strategy was created to improve the site. The result is an incredible Web site created with lively input from every area of the Daily's staff. Upon relaunch in February, the site garnered an impressive 60,000 page views. We are very excited to see the potential of this site further develop as a service to our readers and clients.

The Minnesota Daily is proud to be fiscally healthy. We have stayed in the black and received a clean audit opinion. In addition, we have instituted tighter controls on accounts receivable and have created a more accurate system to record fixed assets. These important changes will support the organization's financial processes for many years.

In an effort to remain fiscally healthy -- to in turn ensure The Daily's future existence -- we have begun exploring a range of new revenue streams. The cornerstone of this effort has been the development of new opportunities online. From video box ads to text links, online sales are up over 100 percent from last year and will continue to grow. Simultaneously, we have carefully considered the look and feel of the Web site, and the improvements we have made have resulted in an increase of about 20 percent in online readership.

Emily Banks, 2007-08 Editor-in-Chief

Emily BanksIn March, The Minnesota Daily's board of directors chose Emily Banks to be co-publisher and editor-inchief for the 2007-08 academic year. Banks joined The Minnesota Daily her freshman year as a student director on the board of directors. And after a semester of studying French and international politics in Brussels, Belgium, her sophomore year, she joined the staff as a reporter. She covered a variety of beats, including student issues, student government and science and technology, before being promoted to associate editor of the city desk.

Banks, a Cannon Falls, Minn., native, began her career in journalism in high school as a founding member of the student newspaper, The Lantern. By the time she graduated in 2004, the paper had been named Best in Show by the Minnesota High School Press Association and Best Class A newspaper by the Star Tribune/Minnesota State High School League. Banks was named Minnesota's High School Journalist of the Year by the Journalism Education Association and an Al Neuharth Free Spirit Scholar in 2004.

While attending the University, Banks has worked for the Minnesota Journalism Center and a marketing and communications firm. She's also the vice president of the University's Society of Professional Journalists chapter.