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About Kelly Boldan

Kelly Boldan has been the editor of the West Central Tribune of Willmar, Minn., since October, 2001.

West Central Tribune’s ‘picture man’ retires this week

Ron Adams photographed three-sport athlete Tara Rudie, one of Willmar High School’s senior academic leaders, at Hodapp Field on May 15. Tribune photo by Rand Middleton

By Anne Polta

apolta@wctrib.com

WILLMAR — His work as one of the West Central Tribune’s news photographers made Ron Adams a familiar sight at local parades, school events and more.

His pictures — and, more recently, videos — appeared almost daily in the newspaper’s print edition and online.

This week Adams, 61, is trading in his camera for retirement and a full-time career as a painter.

His last day is Saturday. A farewell open house will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. Thursday at the Willmar Public Library.

Adams said he will miss his role as a window between readers and the community. “When you’re a photographer for a newspaper, you’re the face of the community,” he said.

He will also miss his co-workers in the newsroom.

“All of the reporters are like my best friends because I see them more than I see anybody else,” he said. “That’s going to be the hardest thing about leaving the fold. It is just like a family.”

“It has been my privilege to work with Ron with more than 12 years,” said Editor Kelly Boldan. “He has worked with dedication and consistency. His photography has played a major role in recording history in Willmar and the region for nearly two decades. He has left his mark.”

Adams has been with the Tribune for just a few months short of 20 years.
Art is his first love, going all the way back to high school when he began painting, but he learned early to appreciate the imagery of photography.

From small canvases to large murals, his paintings have always used photographs as the starting point. Wanting to use his own photos instead of someone else’s, he decided to pick up a camera and learn how to use it well. “It’s very important to have good images to work from,” he said.

He started working at the Tribune in 1994 as a part-time photographer. His tall, lanky figure soon became a fixture at local news events, especially on weekends. Schoolchildren referred to him as “the picture man.”

“A lot of people know me on sight,” he said.

Kids and animals were two of his favorite photography subjects. One assignment that stands out in his memory was when a moose wandered into town and he was sent to take pictures. He also remembers being there to capture the moment when a pair of circus elephants at the fairgrounds was taken into Foot Lake for a dip.
“What stands out in my mind is when something really different occurs, like a swimming elephant,” he said.

More recently he branched out into video, earning a statewide third-place award from the Minnesota Newspaper Association last year for his video of a reconciliation ceremony on the 150th anniversary of the U.S.-Dakota War.
In between photo assignments that often took him on the road to area communities,

Adams is diligent about walking his dachshund, Jimi, and continuing with his painting. His latest one-man show, an exhibit at North American State Bank, is open through Saturday.
Adams said he’s looking forward to concentrating full time on his art and becoming more active in the local arts community, especially now that he will no longer have to juggle studio time with a news photographer’s schedule.

He already has his first major retirement project lined up: a historic mural he has been commissioned to paint at the Kandiyohi County Health and Human Services Building. The project is being funded through a grant from the Southwest Minnesota Arts and Humanities Council and will probably take a year to complete.
“This has been a dream of mine for 20 years now,” he said.

West Central Tribune wins two MNA awards

The West Central Tribune received two honors Thursday in the Better Newspaper Contest of the Minnesota Newspaper Association.

The newspaper received second in the General News category in the dailies over 10,000 division. It also received an honorable mention in the Special Sections category for the Focus on Fun section in 2011.

Other regional newspapers receiving honors in weekly divisions were:

Hutchinson Leader: First – Typography and Design, Advertising Excellence, Use of Color in Advertising, Business Story, Local Breaking News Coverage, News Photo and Best Magazine; Second – Use of Photography, Headline Writing, Use of Color in Advertising, Business Story, and Editorial Portfolio.

Litchfield Independent Review: First – Editorial Page as a Whole, Use of Photography, Sports Reporting and Arts and Entertainment Story; Second – Headline Writing.

Morris Sun Tribune: First – Sports Photo.

Paynesville Press: Second – Institutional Advertisement and Arts-Entertainment Story.

Renville County Register: First – Best Advertisement; Second – Social Issues Story and Business Story.

The awards were announced at the annual convention of the Minnesota Newspaper Association held in Bloomington.

Calling all readers! Complete our market research study, enter into gift certificate drawing

The West Central Tribune is conducting a market research study in the newspaper’s readership area.

All individuals completing the online survey will be eligible for a drawing for one of five $100 Visa gift cards.

To complete the survey, go here.

West Central Tribune introduces new community content coordinator

Ashley White

The West Central Tribune is pleased to announce that Ashley White has joined our newsroom staff as community content coordinator.

“In her new position, White will focus on the development, promotion and coordination of community content via blogs on Areavoices.com,” said Tribune Editor Kelly Boldan. “She will also coordinate the use of community blog content on all the West Central Tribune platforms: print, web and mobile. And she will contribute to our Facebook, Twitter and multimedia efforts.”

The West Central Tribune is now focusing on community content development through its Areavoices.com blogging platform.

White previously worked as a writer and editor at the Pacer Center in Minneapolis and was a freelance reporter for BizNOW magazine in Sioux Falls. She also worked as an intern reporter at the West Central Tribune.

A native of Lennox, S.D., White is a graduate of Augustana College in Sioux Falls. She also studied at the University of Sussex in Brighton, England.

Ashley can be reached at 320-214-4308, awhite@wctrib.com or on Twitter @Ashley_WCT.

Readership keeps growing on wctrib.com

Readership on the West Central Tribune’s website wctrib.com continues to grow at a strong pace.

We measure our website traffic by several factors in order to keep track of our growth and to provide necessary information to our advertisers.

Two primary online measurement terms are page views and unique visitors. Page views are recorded each time one web user looks at a single page on wctrib.com. Another measurement is unique visitors, which refers to the number of unique visitors to Wctrib.com in a given time, generally a month-long period.

When I look back at our online readership growth over the past five years, the statistics are rather impressive.

According to Google Analytics reports, wctrib.com’s page views have increased more than 77 percent in the past five years, while our unique visitors’ total over the same period increased more than 67 percent.

Page views: In the previous year ending Aug. 31, wctrib.com page views totaled more than 14.7 million or averaged 1.2 million per month. For the same period in 2007, wctrib.com totaled more than 8.3 million page views or averaged 693,609 page views per month.

Unique visitors: In the previous year ending Aug. 31, wctrib.com unique visitors totaled more than 898,029 or averaged 74,836 unique visitors per month. For the same period in 2007, wctrib.com unique visitors totaled 536,680 or averaged 44,723 per month.

These data indicate the growing reader interest in the West Central Tribune’s digital platforms — online, mobile and e-mail alerts.

We appreciate our readers’ interest and thank them for their readership.

- Kelly Boldan, editor

Remembering 9-11

Several months ago we started talking in the newsroom about the upcoming 10th anniversary of 9/11.

The significance of this day is marked in history forever. We all remember the horror of watching the events of that day unfold, and how we tried to wrap our heads around covering such an enormous tragedy at a local level.

It was before the days of Twitter and Facebook, and even the BlackBerry; cell phones, if you did have a number to try and reach someone, weren’t much good out East at the time, as all the lines were jammed.

Sept. 11th scene

But, as the day progressed, and the weeks wore on, we found the stories that impacted our local readers and we moved forward day by day. Eventually, the significance of the day blended into each passing day.

Now, 10 years later the question again is … how do we wrap our heads around the impact 9/11 has had on our local communities still, 10 years later?

How do we cover it? Where do we begin?

As a group, we gathered in May and June to begin talking about it — as well as other things — and to begin compiling a possible story list.

Surely the economy carries a looming black cloud, much of which began after 9/11 and the fears surrounding.

Our great nation, the United States of America, isn’t as “untouchable” as we once thought. Tragedy can and did hit our homeland. Our sense of security has been shaken for generations.

We looked back at our coverage as the events of 9/11 unfolded, and a special section we did on the first anniversary of that day.

And, slowly, our story list started to come together.

As each member of our newsroom continued to handle the daily demands of the job, we also started to formulate what would become our 10th anniversary section marking 9/11.

A 12-page special section, as well as a number of stories throughout the regular paper leading up to and including Saturday’s paper, have all come together to tell some very compelling stories of how 9/11 has impacted west central Minnesota.

Ten years later we still see the horror and tragedy that day has brought to our communities, but we also see the resilience of America to move on and move forward. The tragedies of that day, while harsh and everlasting, also brought people together. The overwhelming support of our troops, as seen through groups like HomeFront Connections, and the sense of community are still strong in rural America.

And that is something we can all be proud of.

Like Pearl Harbor and D-Day in Normandy, 9/11 will forever be cemented in America’s history.

We hope you take the time to read our stories, and think of what this date means to all of us.

“We still remember … May we never forget!”

By Sharon Bomstad, features editor

Welcome to the virtual newsroom

We welcome our readers to the Inside Scoop – a blog about stories and tidbits from the West Central Tribune newsroom.

This new blog can be read at this Areavoices.com URL: insidescoop.areavoices.com.

Our intention with this blog is to share tidbits and stories from inside the Tribune’s newsroom. Reporters, editors and photographers will individually write about their challenges, successes, needs and adventures in getting the story.

We hope through the Inside Scoop blog, our readers can gain some insight into the Tribune newsroom and our staff.

Ask any reporter or editor and they can tell you an interesting story behind many stories. Oftentimes, the story behind the story may be more interesting than the real story.

The Inside Scoop stories may be about who is involved in a story, what happens in developing a story, the where of a story, how we heard about a story, the why behind a specific story or the importance of when in a story.

We will also plan to answer questions from readers about stories or other newspaper issues.

Readers are often the source of many of our stories. We encourage you to send your story tip or idea to us at this email address: news@wctrib.com, or call 320-235-1150.

If you have any questions or concerns, you may also email me at: kboldan@wctrib.com or call 320-235-1150.

Thank you to Tribune reporter and blogger Anne Polta for coordinating the startup of Inside Scoop. In addition to her reporting, she also writes our HealthBeat blog at this URL: healthbeat.areavoices.com.

We hope you enjoy our newsroom blog, Inside Scoop.

- Kelly Boldan, Tribune editor