Media mentions

Project Optimist has been in the news lately!

Media mentions

November 2023

Watch Project Optimist Founder Nora Hertel talk about our journalism and core programs on RJI Insight, which features work supported by the Reynolds Journalism Institute at the University of Missouri.

MPR News' Minnesota Now show featured our Nuclear at a Crossroads series. Project reporter R.C. Drews and editor Nora Hertel talked about this important journalism and the dialogue we hosted on nuclear power. Listen to it here: Why nuclear energy is a political minefield in Minnesota.

Hertel spent a few days at the University of Missouri this month, meeting with students and faculty and borrowing their studio. Read a story about the visit.

October 2023

The Initiative Foundation's IQ Magazine featured Project Optimist trainee Ifrah Aden and founder Nora Hertel in a piece on changes in rural journalism called "Turning The Page."

A second story in the Fall 2023 edition of IQ Magazine cites Hertel's views on connection and the benefits of community dialogue within a piece on loneliness, social isolation, and how to address those challenges.

WJON in St. Cloud featured the first virtual conversation held by Project Optimist's Shades of Purple: Dialogue across difference. The dialogue and the story focused on sustainability and the future of agriculture.

June 2023

Project Optimist and our founder gets a shout out in a column about the Initiators Fellowship in the Star Tribune.

May 2023

Patrick Henry, a member of the St. Cloud Times’ writers group, features solutions journalism and Project Optimist in a column. He calls founder Nora Hertel a “hard-boiled hope detective” and “an EMT, with skills and equipment for resuscitating the press.”

April 2023

100 Rural Women Spotlight Profiles: Watch or read an in-depth profile featuring Project Optimist founder Nora Hertel and her journey to Minnesota, journalism and to leadership.

February 2023

The St. Cloud Times became a case study of newspaper decline when it lost all news staff to layoffs, buyouts and resignations. Project Optimist founder – and former St. Cloud Times reporter – Nora Hertel speaks with Twin Cities PBS about these changes and challenges: Cloudy Times: Kaomi Lee takes us to St. Cloud where the media landscape is rapidly changing

Founder Nora Hertel shares in a personal essay on the challenges and growth that come with launching a news startup in a pandemic.

January 2023

Project Optimist is featured by St. Cloud Shines, which highlights positive stories about people, places, events, businesses and organizations in greater St. Cloud.

Founder Nora Hertel reflects on “The future of journalism in St. Cloud post-Times” on MPR’s Minnesota Now.

December 2022

Project Optimist and founder Nora Hertel gets a shout out by one of our former coaches, An Xiao Mina, in a Nieman Lab essay about the future of journalism.

November 2022

The fabulous Star Tribune editor Gail Rosenblum gives a nod to Project Optimist in the column announcing her retirement an d cheering on “hope-filled, solutions-focused news.”

Project Optimist is among 16 publishers selected to join the 2022 GNI Startups Labs on Building and Managing a Team .

August 2022

In an essay for the Reynolds Journalism Institute, Project Optimist founder Nora Hertel shares the early development of the organization and its dual focus on solutions journalism and community conversations.

April 2022

Reynolds Journalism Institute announces funding for three news startups including Project Optimist (then called The Optimist) in spring 2022.

Initiative Foundation features its 2022 to 2023 Initiators Fellows, including Nora Hertel, in its spring issue of IQ Magazine.

December 2021

Nora Hertel answers three questions for her alma mater University of Wisconsin-Madison about launching Project Optimist and her career in journalism.