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USEFUL & INSPIRING STORIES FOR 

DO-GOODERS

IN GREATER MINNESOTA

Are you tired of division, anger and dysfunction dominating the news? 

The Optimist produces journalism you can feel good about: stories on solutions to environmental, business and social problems. 

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NEWS

A newsletter highlighting work across the state & an original story on local solutions weekly 

SOLUTIONS

Solution-focused stories for problem solvers in Central Minnesota

OUTREACH

Media literacy and community journalism training

Meet Nora Hertel, an optimist by choice and founder of The Optimist. She’s an investigative reporter and a 2022-2023 Initiator Fellow through the Initiative Foundation in central Minnesota. Nora is leading a new media enterprise that strives to rebuild trust in news by connecting directly with readers and featuring evidence-based reporting on responses to problems -- not just problems alone. 

In 2021, Nora reported a series on natural climate solutions as a journalism fellow with the MIT Environmental Solutions Initiative. Those stories featured agricultural carbon markets, a startup that pays forest landowners to delay cutting down trees, a program to help Minnesota forests adapt to climate change and more.

What we've heard from central Minnesotans

“I don’t like news anymore.”

“It’s always the doom and gloom stuff (on the news). But there’s good stuff happening.”

“Telling stories about solutions would be really helpful.”

You can do something 

to help!

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