NNA honors Julie Nordine Bergman with 2013 McKinney Award

September 14, 2013

PHOENIX, AZ—Julie Nordine Bergman was honored during the National Newspaper Association’s 2013 Annual Convention & Trade Show at the Arizona Grand Resort, where she was presented with the Emma C. McKinney Memorial Award at the association’s business luncheon Sept. 14, in Phoenix, AZ.


Recognized as the highest and most dignified tributes in community journalism, the Amos and McKinney Awards are presented to a working or retired newspaperman and woman who have provided distinguished service and leadership to the community press and their community.


The McKinney Award was established in 1966 to honor Emma C. McKinney, co-publisher and editor of the Hillsboro (OR) Argus for 58 years. She was dean of Oregon newspapermen and women in 1954 and was inducted into the Oregon Journalism Hall of Fame in 1982.


Nordine Bergman, owner and publisher of The Northern Light, Baudette, MN, and co-publisher of four Minnesota newspapers (North Star News in Karlstad; The Northern Light Region in Baudette, The Exponent in East Grand Forks, and The Tribune in Greenbush) was presented with the 2013 Emma C. McKinney Award by NNA past president (1984) Gene Johnson and outgoing NNA past president Merle Baranczyk.


Johnson said: “I am proud to present this year’s award to Julie Nordine Bergman who has ‘an unbelievable passion for the community newspaper industry.’ This has been expressed in her dedication, ambition, drive to make her newspaper and subsequent newspaper profitable in small and competitive markets.”


Julie publisher and co-owner of the Northern Light and the Exponent in Minnesota, became a publisher at the age of 19.


When nominating her for this award, Jake Benson, publisher of the Proctor (MN) Journal, wrote that Julie: “has always been the consummate working newspaper person. From the time I first met Julie at her first newspaper convention, she has immersed herself in workshops, seminars and roundtable discussions, as well as serving on nearly every Minnesota Newspaper Association committee throughout her career. It didn’t take her long before she began facilitating and conducting educational workshops on a wide variety of newspaper topics.”


Julie has been recognized for her hard work and dedication to the industry. She was elected to the Minnesota Newspaper Association’s board of directors, rising through the chairs to the presidency.


Benson also noted that: “Her tireless passion for the industry did not stop when she became a past president. Her work on behalf of our industry and the MNA continued without missing a beat.


“She became Minnesota’s representative to the National Newspaper Association as a state chair and has worked on NNA’s Membership Committee and the Publishers’ Auxiliary Committee, and has promoted postal reform. When disaster strikes a newspaper in Minnesota or in other states, she is the one to lead fundraising efforts to get Minnesota papers to buy advertising space to help the stricken paper and their staffs during that time of need.”


Through her newspaper she has engaged the community youth through Newspaper In Education projects, which have earned NNA awards. Besides her duties as publisher, Julie is also a senior associate for the newspaper brokerage company, W.B. Grimes and Co., working in investments, mergers and acquisitions.


Karl Lindquist, a retired attorney in Grand Forks, met Julie because of the state’s public notice laws. He wrote: “National news in East Grand Forks has always been available via large media outlets, and The Exponent did more than its fair share of national news reporting. But where the Exponent shined, and still shines, is in the reporting of local news. What’s going on at city hall? Who’s getting married? Who died? – At the barbershop or in the grocery store, you hear it over and over again: ‘Did you read about it in the Exponent?’… Over the years the Exponent, under the guiding hand of Julie, has published the local news fairly and accurately, with integrity and honesty.”


General Manager and Editor Tom West of the Morrison County Record/Dairyland Peach wrote: “Julie has been one of the true stalwarts of the state newspaper association … she lives and breathes newspapers, not only as an owner, but as an advocate for all small newspapers. She has proven herself to also be an excellent journalist, twice winning the Herman Roe Editorial Award, one of the most prestigious awards in the annual state newspaper contest.”


Retired former publisher and editor of the Mille Lacs Messenger, Dick Norlander, wrote: “I was proud to have served on our Minnesota Newspaper Association board with Julie for a number of years, and she was always the first one to step up and volunteer whenever help was needed. She was a tireless advocate for the National Newspaper Association. She and her husband, Rollin, were instrumental in getting their community of East Grand Forks back on its feet following a devastating flood in their community.


Julie is a leader with the ability to get others to follow and is the world’s biggest advocate for community journalism and small-town publishers. She has also served on the Blanden Foundation in leadership roles, assisting community newspaper publishers and editors on how they can best serve their communities by developing leadership within those communities, helping them to flourish economically and overcome problems.”


Retired publisher and past NNA state chair for Minnesota, Donald Q. Smith wrote: “Few community editors and publishers, whether male or female, have contributed as much time and talent as Julie has. “She has been incredibly active in our foundation’s training outreach and the letterpress museum effort—preserving the working museum at the state fair.”


Linda Falkman, former MNA executive director, wrote that she and Julie go way back—to her early days on MNA’s committees.  “Julie was the kind of newspaper association member an executive director yearns for: willing, innovative, hardworking, and willing to pitch in whenever she was asked. She was among the best.”


Nordine Bergman will be recognized in the November issue of Publishers’ Auxiliary.


Past and present McKinney Award winners are listed at nnaweb.org.


Established in 1885, the National Newspaper Association is the voice of America’s community newspapers and the largest newspaper association in the country. The nation’s community papers inform, educate and entertain nearly 150 million readers every week.

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