View from the Messenger: Let’s hear it for/from our readers!

Posted on 04 June 2019 by Tesha Christensen

Denis Woulfe


I’ve spent the last few weeks helping to introduce the Longfellow Nokomis Messenger’s new owner, Tesha M. Christensen, to Messenger advertisers, readers, and other stakeholders. And during that process it has reminded me of when I was making the rounds introducing myself to Messenger stakeholders when we purchased the paper from Bill and Maureen Milbrath in 1986.
One of the first community groups I met was the Longfellow Ministerial Association. The Milbraths believed that a neighborhood newspaper was an important vehicle to connect all the community stakeholders and provide a forum for residents to discuss important community issues, and they recognized that the area churches provided an important framework for residents to make a connection to the community.
Meeting with the dozen or so ministers who were active in the Ministerial Association was a bit intimidating, as it was obvious that these ministers were regular readers of the Messenger and truly embraced the mission of the Messenger and felt that they were a part of it.
Interestingly, after Bill Milbrath introduced me as the new Editor of the Messenger and the new Advertiser Manager, the ministers went around their large table and asked me a host of questions.
Finally, one pastor asked what ended up being the capstone question for the meeting. “Denis, do you know the name of that structure that connects the Longfellow neighborhood in Minneapolis to the Merriam Park neighborhood in St. Paul over the Mississippi River?”
I paused for a moment, and I’m sure my face looked a bit puzzled with what seemed like such an odd question, but then I spoke up. “Do you mean the Lake Street Bridge?”
All the pastors started to laugh. I looked inquisitively at Bill for some explanation, and he just smiled and said, “You just passed the test, Denis!”
The pastor asking the question had assumed that I would answer “Marshall Avenue Bridge,” given the fact that our original newspaper for over 20 years had been the Midway Como Monitor in St. Paul and he figured I would see things from a St. Paul vantage point. Because my sister had lived in South Minneapolis for many years, just on the edge of the coverage area for the Messenger, I had always thought of it as the Lake Street Bridge and rarely used Marshall Avenue Bridge in conversation.
Perspective can be a very important thing in publishing a neighborhood newspaper and our goal continues to be to represent all the stakeholders in Longfellow and Nokomis the very best we can by engaging our readers and trying to publish articles and content that is important to them.
But we need your help to make the Messenger even better.
You might know that the Messenger’s new owner is a South Minneapolis resident herself, and as a reporter for the Messenger for the past eight years, she is already well versed on many issues of vital concern to Longfellow Nokomis residents. But in addition to that obvious advantage, we are in the midst of reaching out to residents and business owners like you to find out just what you like about the Messenger and what you’d like to change.
If you have an idea for a story or want to introduce yourself to the new owner, Tesha M. Christensen, you can email her at or call her directly at 612-345-9998.
Or maybe you’d like to find out more about advertising opportunities in the Messenger? I hear this question quite a bit, but just to say this, it is through the advertising of our local businesses that we are able to bring you the Messenger each month. And in turn, it is those same local businesses who want to reach out to local residents like you for their customer base. A community newspaper like the Messenger recognizes that bond between businesses and their local customer base and we help facilitate it.
But you might also know that the options for advertising have changed over the years. In addition to run of press ads in the newspaper, we also offer inserts that can be directed to specific routes in the Messenger delivery area. Inserts can also be a great option for a new restaurant or a church holding a special event. We also offer a special Partner Insert Program where we pair two local businesses to print and distribute a flyer. That makes distributing flyers more reasonable than ever before.
And don’t forget online advertising (you can find us online all the time at Online ads can be placed online almost immediately and it’s a nice complement to appearing in the printed newspaper.
I’d be happy to continue this conversation with you directly. Send me a note at or call me at 651-917-4183.