Our commitment to high-quality journalism is 'unshakable'
The Post Bulletin has a new publisher, Ken Nelson, who joined the company on Aug. 1. Nelson, 57, has been in the newspaper industry for more than 30 years and most recently was publisher and CEO of the Erie Times-News in Erie, Pa. A native of Detroit, his career stops between there and here include more than 20 years at the Orange County Register, where he was in ad sales leadership, and three years as vice president/advertising for the Ventura County Star in the Los Angeles area.
As publisher and CEO of the Post Bulletin, he leads the largest media company in southeast Minnesota, with 104 employees and a diverse range of print and digital products and services.
Executive Editor Jay Furst had 10 questions for Nelson last week:
People always ask: what exactly does a newspaper publisher do?
I’m the CEO of the organization, so ultimately, it’s my job to answer for the profit and loss of the organization — and everything in between.
What are your first impressions of the Rochester area?
It’s a great city with wonderful growth, great businesses and people. What’s striking for me is the number of people on the street, enjoying the shopping, restaurants and bars — the running and cycling, moreso than in most areas — the developing skyline. I think Rochester is going to be something amazing.
Are there consistent themes or comments you hear from people you’ve met to date?
More than anything, I hear about the cost of housing, whether you’re buying or renting in Rochester.
What’s the newspaper’s role in the community and has it changed in recent years as the media world has changed?
As I see it, the Post Bulletin has two basic roles. Number one, to keep people informed about what’s going on in the community and what’s going on in government. I believe we’re a check on government. The other is that we provide an audience to help businesses succeed with their goals. Those principles haven’t changed — we’re just not ink-on-paper anymore.
Do you expect to be directly engaged in community work, serving on boards and in other ways?
Absolutely. The only way to get in touch with the community is by working with people and organizations. It’s important that we’re investing back into our community with our personal time.
You’ve been in the business for more than 30 years. What’s the news story or coverage you’re most proud of and that had the greatest impact?
At the Times-News, we launched an on-going project called Erie Next, coverage that was a kind of solution journalism, to promote the things that need to be changed within Erie and give examples of how it could be achieved. Erie is a community at a crossroads, determining whether it’s going to be a Rust Belt town or move forward. We were working on it for two years, with community forums along with coverage, and it’s still going.
Are you on social media? How does social media mesh with what we do in print and online?
Yes, I’m on social media. I really believe it’s another avenue to keep the community informed. People’s consumption of media has changed and we need to keep changing with it.
What are the key things newspapers have learned in this transition period from print-only to print and digital?
I think we’ve learned that informing the community takes many different paths and products. Delivering news and information and helping businesses grow happens in many different forms that are constantly changing, and we need a wide range of products to reach different audiences.
Based on what you’ve seen so far, what do you think would most surprise people to learn about the PB?
That for the people who work here, it isn’t a job for any of them. It’s a passion, and that shows through on a daily basis.
It’s early, but what types of changes would you imagine readers will see over time?
What they’ll see is that we’re committed to high-quality journalism and that will never change. We may deliver it on different platforms, but that commitment is unshakable. We’re also going to continue to serve our advertisers and business clients in new and different ways.
Got a question for Ken Nelson, the Post Bulletin's new publisher? Send an email to email@example.com or call Ken at 507-285-7600.