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About Project Optimist

Learn about the values that drive Project Optimist. See our mission and vision statements, and meet founder Nora Hertel.

At Project Optimist (formerly The Optimist) we value human dignity, agency and hope, three elements highlighted in the work of Amanda Ripley. We’re inspired by nonprofit newsrooms, solution-focused journalists, generative community organizers and so many others taking on the challenges in media and society. We’re also inspired by Minnesota’s beautiful landscapes and the problem solvers and creatives who live here.

Project Optimist likes to pair inspiration with information. Our journalism is fact-based and fact-checked. It’s produced to be clear, practical and to spark curiosity.

Project Optimist is a proud member of the  Tiny News Collective accelerator program. The Tiny News Collective is our fiscal sponsor.

Mission and vision statement

Project Optimist strives to engage residents of greater Minnesota to help them collaborate across common divides, tackle seemingly intractable problems and grow more optimistic about the future of their communities, region and world.

Project Optimist does this by tapping Minnesota’s creative and independent talent to produce solution-focused stories and local art to inform and inspire. We provide training and spur conversations in support of media literacy, community problem solving, community journalism and democracy.­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­

Ethics policy

Project Optimist follows the Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics. In all of our work we seek truth and report it (including nuances and complexity), strive to minimize harm, act independently and hold ourselves to high standards of accountability and transparency.