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Hansen is V.P. of Audience Development

Keith Hansen

Who is Keith Hansen? Where’d he come from? He’s been writing a lot of editorials that have some up in arms and others cheering from the sidelines.

Many readers have been asking questions and some even believe that the name is fictitious and someone has been ghost writing Brainerd Dispatch opinions over the last month or so.

Well, to set the record straight, I am Keith Hansen, a native of Cloquet, Minn., and a graduate of Northwest University, Kirkland, Wash., and Minnesota State University-Moorhead.

I have been selected to serve, not as the editor of the Dispatch, but rather, as the Vice President of Audience Development.

Huh? That’s a digital-era title for what was once known as the editor. However, my duties are different than a traditional editor.

The Brainerd Dispatch is owned by Morris Media, a digital-first company. Simply stated, Morris believes that the digital presentation of news is the future of this business. It’s hard to disagree with that premise when the most recent release of the new iPad generated record sales of 3 million units in the first three days. The newest Apple release was available to an eagerly waiting public. A generation is turning to the Internet in droves for its news.

Print remains our main staple at the Dispatch. However, the rise of a digital presence has given us opportunities to present the news, sports, weather and feature stories in a matter of seconds from when it breaks. Now, our reporters’ and photographers’ use of digital video and tweets are downloadable instantly for our readers.

This digital format affords our readers and viewers instant access to news as it’s happening via an iPhone, our e-edition of the Dispatch and soon from an iPad. That means snowbirds, or lakehome owners can access the news from their primary residence — instantly.

One has to conclude that newspapers are no longer viewed as print media only. Digitally, our staff at the Dispatch will be presenting a variety of formats, using video, podcasts (sports podcasts are currently available), and live broadcasting from sites around the region.

Our talented staff will continue to develop new methods of presenting the area’s news to each person subscribing to or buying a single copy of the Dispatch. These enhanced methods of presenting the news, advertising and photographs should provide our audiences with a greater understanding of the world around us.

As the vice president of audience development, I see my job as that of bridging print to digital for the various audiences of the Brainerd Dispatch.

So, what qualifies me to sit in this position? Well, I have owned 11 newspapers, a handful of magazines, including Wildlife Art (an internationally circulated publication). I have published the Lodi (Wis.) Enterprise, the Spooner (Wis.) Advocate, Sawyer County (Hayward, Wis.) Record, the North Weld Herald and Windsor (Colo.) Beacon, Ramona (Calif.) Sentinel, Cloquet (Minn.) Journal, Hermantown (Minn.) Star, Isanti-Chisago (Minn.) County Star (owned by NorthStar Media), Evergreen Shopping Guide, San Diego County Equine Exchange, Lifestyles (Calif.), Ramona Sentinel Magazine, and other shoppers. During my tenure as publisher of those publications, the newest technology was introduced into the mix to enhance each publication. Overall, the publications under my leadership were recognized by state and national peers for excellence.

My position at the Dispatch is to raise an awareness of issues that are impacting our area on a city, county, state, national and international level. In an ever-shrinking world, our readers must be aware of news down the street and around the world to be informed citizens.

On a personal note, I have been married to my childhood friend, Tricia for 35 years. We have three grown children — Carrie, a teacher at White Bear Lake, and her husband Andrew Carlson is employed by the PGA at TPC in Blaine, and they have two sons, Noah and Isaac; Erica is a marketing director for a large construction company in Costa Mesa, Calif., and is married to Scott Foster, a pastor at Bethany Church, Long Beach, Calif., and they are anticipating the birth of their first child in April; and Alisa, a medical technician in Albuquerque, N.M., is married to Marshall Bowland, a member of the United States Air Force.

The Brainerd Dispatch will continue its efforts to connect you to our community, our state, our nation, and the world wherever you are on this great planet.