Hire us for media consulting and training

The media landscape is changing. We help nonprofits and businesses tell their stories. And we help newsrooms tell more solution- and community-focused stories.

Hire us for media consulting and training
 Nora Hertel (center) talks with a Jama Alimad (right), an elder in St. Cloud's Somali community, and Sara Nimis (left), a volunteer moderator in the Shades of Purple dialogue series, during the first dialogue event on May 13, 2023 at the Stearns History Museum in St. Cloud, Minn. (Shannon Rathmanner for Project Optimist)

The journalism world is in flux. Constant changes in the field make it hard for community organizations to know what stories will resonate and how to get those stories out. Project Optimist can help.

Through our consulting, we work with nonprofits and businesses to help improve media relations and storytelling practices.

We also provide training to new and experienced reporters to help expand their coverage to include more solution-focused and community-based stories that combat news fatigue and engage audiences.


Tap into the decades of journalism experience at Project Optimist to improve your organization's presence online. We are steeped in Minnesota's media ecosystem.

Package includes:

  • 2, hour-long consultation sessions,
  • a personalized tip sheet to help you promote your business or nonprofit in today's shifting media landscape,
  • a 600-word sponsored story, written and edited by professional journalists, to be published on the Project Optimist website and available for republication on your website and beyond.


Minnesota and the rest of the U.S. have lost journalists at an alarming rate since the rise of the internet in the early 2000s. Project Optimist wants to help stem the tide by training citizen reporters and bolstering solutions journalism among professional reporters.

Topics include:

  • Solutions Journalism
  • Dialogue Journalism
  • Basic reporting for community writers
  • Media relations for nonprofits and small businesses

Meet your trainer

Nora Hertel is the founder and executive director of Project Optimist and provides most of the training and consulting offered here. Hertel has more than 10 years of experience reporting in the field and has published investigative, daily, and multimedia journalism for a range of respected outlets in the Midwest including USA TODAY, The Associated Press, and the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism. She has a master's degree in journalism and mass communication from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She won recent fellowships from MIT's Environmental Solutions Institute, the Initiative Foundation in central Minnesota, and Reynolds Journalism Institute at the University of Missouri. She is an accredited trainer with the Solutions Journalism Network.

Contact Nora for more information, including pricing: nora@theoptimist.mn or 320-247-5899

Project Optimist founder Nora Hertel with high school seniors Ifrah (center) and Rahma (right) after a Journalism 101 training in St. Cloud on June 20, 2023. (Nora Hertel for Project Optimist)