Eden Prairie Local News (EPLN) is celebrating its first two years of publication and the distribution of its first Eden Prairie Voter Guide. You are invited to celebrate with us at EPLN’s annual meeting at 9 a.m. Monday, Oct. 17, at the Star Bank Community Room, 250 Prairie Center Drive.
The Eden Prairie 2022 Voter Guide was mailed to all 26,000 Eden Prairie households the first week of this month. It offers candidates running in all local races the opportunity to speak directly to Eden Prairie voters.
We hope that you have spent some time reviewing the Voter Guide and have made your plans to vote on Nov. 8 or before.
EPLN has begun its third year of service to Eden Prairie as a nonprofit, nonpartisan source of news about you and your neighbors.
EPLN consists of a growing group of your neighbors – journalists, board members and volunteer contributors – whose mission is to serve our community with trustworthy reporting, compelling stories, and news you can use – anytime, anywhere.
We hope you can join us Monday morning in welcoming Frank Farrell to EPLN’s Board of Directors and bidding farewell to retiring founding member Roy Terwilliger.
Author and retired Star Tribune editorial writer and columnist, Lori Sturdevant, is the guest speaker. She will talk about the importance of local journalism and answer questions.
EPLN has published more than 1,200 articles since September 2020. More than 2,300 of you are subscribers to our daily and weekly newsletters. We encourage you to request your free subscription here.
Eden Prairie’s 2022 Voter Guide
For an online news organization, creating a 24-page print publication to be delivered to every resident of Eden Prairie was an exciting, yet daunting task.
A small group of journalists, artists and designers began planning the project early last spring. We knew we wanted the final product to be as comprehensive as possible, with an emphasis on political races that would directly affect the residents of our city.
We opted for a question-and-answer format, which would allow candidates to answer questions in their own words. It was also a concession that our small staff wouldn’t be able to conduct individual interviews in the necessary timeframe.
As candidates began to file for open positions on the school board, city council, state legislative seats, the 3rd Congressional district, and for mayor of Eden Prairie, we set about developing questions for candidates based on the issues of the day.
Those questions were tweaked and updated right up to the day filings closed.
Mark Weber, a member of EPLN’s Board of Directors, and a journalist with decades of experience – most right here in Eden Prairie – collected contact information for all candidates. He transmitted the questions to candidates and began collecting photographs to be used in the guide.
As responses began arriving, Mark disseminated them to editors for review and editing. Because responses were in the candidates’ own words, only editing of style and length occurred. A few candidates were asked to shorten some of their answers to conform to the guide’s guidelines.
Meanwhile, candidate representatives were approached to offer them the opportunity to purchase an ad in the voter guide.
Behind the scenes, artist June Le began creating the guide’s cover art. Designer and layout artist Renee Fette began to create mock layouts to help determine the eventual number of pages needed to hold all of the information and advertisements.
At EPLN, we pride ourselves on being truthful, nonpartisan, and transparent. Many discussions focused on those important issues.
Even with the careful oversight of several experienced people, one unintentional issue somehow missed everyone’s attention. During the final phases of layout, any print newspaper requires small adjustments to eliminate awkward spaces left by articles that don’t fit the space available.
Several small pieces of voting-related artwork were identified to fill small spaces. One of those pieces of art – a small checkmark – was randomly dropped into a couple of articles to make them more visually appealing and to fill small spaces.
During the final proofreading process, no one recognized that someone might interpret those checkmarks as endorsements of the candidate in whose story they appeared.
After the presses began rolling and there was no turning back, the wife of one of the voter guide team members asked if a checkmark was an endorsement of that candidate.
After catching our collective breath, and knowing that they weren’t intended to be an endorsement, we posed the question to others. Most didn’t read it that way; a few did.
Then, one of our astute readers politely challenged our claim of nonpartisanship based on the placement of checkmarks that appeared to be candidate endorsements. We quickly realized that if one person asks that question, there are 20 more who didn’t.
We made a mistake. EPLN does not endorse political candidates. The checkmarks were a poor graphic choice. We apologize to those who may have been misled.
And we hope that you, as did the reader who contacted us, find the voter guide useful as you decide who to vote for on Nov. 8.
We were very proud when the final printed product was delivered.
We hope that you are pleased with our effort, make great use of it, and vote on Nov. 8.
After all, that’s where checkmarks actually do make a difference.
Editor’s note: To view the online version of the voter guide, go to the EPLN website here.
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