Steve Andrist worked as executive director of the North Dakota Newspaper Association until his retirement in December. His family’s community newspaper legacy in the state dates back to the 1910s.
The state association moved aggressively to protect its 86 newspapers in the early days of the pandemic. Using about $350,000 from an endowment, the association created a grant program that benefited almost every paper to help keep community reporting going. Furthermore, a newspaper advertising project promoted the importance of credible news during the pandemic.
“The purpose was to distribute an important message on the value of good news,” Andrist said. “The side benefit was that newspapers were able to get some revenue back that they had been missing from other sources.”
Listen to the oral history interview:
See more from The Essential Workers, an oral history project tracking the experiences of locally owned newspapers in Mid-America during the pandemic.