Our final day for Seminar 2 was held at the MERIT Center in Marshall. MERIT Center stands for Minnesota Emergency Response & Industrial Training Center and is a state-of-the-art facility that houses classrooms, training facilities for emergency personnel, and the various equipment needed for chemical and hazardous response units. We had to opportunity to tour the Center and take advantage of the classroom spaces for our group and breakout sessions. To our great surprise, instructors from the Marshall Police Department came over and demonstrated the Firearms – and Driving Simulators.

The topic of the day was Media Communications. We heard from Paula Mohr, editor of the Farmer Magazine, on how to write an effective letter to the editor. We were given the task of writing such a letter to be sent to Paula for critique. You may see a few of our letters published in the Farmer magazine or our local newspapers. One thing that stood out to me was how we should also be writing thank you letters or expressing kudos for good coverage instead of just letters surrounding more serious issues.

Next Paula helped us prepare for our media interview training. Paula worked with Kristin Harner, Public Relations Director for the Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation, on the basics of a media interview. The formula of 27/9/3 helped to make us aware of how we need to be concise with our statements. 27 words, 9 seconds, 3 points should be our goal. It was good to hear from Paula’s perspective as an interviewer on a few do’s and don’ts that can affect how a story runs, and how “no comment” really is a comment.

We split into four groups to practice being interviewed on camera. A huge thank you goes out to Paula Mohr, Matt Widboom, Adam Ulbricht, and Ryan Wendland for helping with the interview portion of the day! In our groups, we took turns running the video camera, timing the interview, writing observations about the interviewee, and being interviewed. It can be intimidating to do a filmed interview, but it is valuable to be able to watch yourself later and see the areas where you can improve. It may take me a little bit to work up the courage to watch myself, but it can only make me better…right?

Seminar 2 ended in the afternoon with our Golden Nuggets wrap-up. I love this part of the day and hearing how my classmates were impacted by everything that happened during our time together.  Even though I leave the Seminar mentally tired, I’m also super excited for the next one.

Thank you for sharing in our journey! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you!

Carolyn Olson, Cottonwood, MN – MARL Class X


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