Media mentions

Project Optimist has made the news lately!

April 2023

100 Rural Women Spotlight Profiles: Watch or read an in-depth profile featuring Project Optimist founder Nora Hertel and her journey to Minnesota, journalism and to leadership.

February 2023

The St. Cloud Times became a case study of newspaper decline when it lost all news staff to layoffs, buyouts and resignations. Project Optimist founder – and former St. Cloud Times reporter – Nora Hertel speaks with Twin Cities PBS about these changes and challenges: Cloudy Times: Kaomi Lee takes us to St. Cloud where the media landscape is rapidly changing

Founder Nora Hertel shares in a personal essay on the challenges and growth that come with launching a news startup in a pandemic.

January 2023

Project Optimist is featured by St. Cloud Shines, which highlights positive stories about people, places, events, businesses and organizations in greater St. Cloud.

Founder Nora Hertel reflects on “The future of journalism in St. Cloud post-Times” on MPR’s Minnesota Now.

December 2022

Project Optimist and founder Nora Hertel gets a shout out by one of our former coaches, An Xiao Mina, in a Nieman Lab essay about the future of journalism.

November 2022

The fabulous Star Tribune editor Gail Rosenblum gives a nod to Project Optimist in the column announcing her retirement an d cheering on “hope-filled, solutions-focused news.”

Project Optimist is among 16 publishers selected to join the 2022 GNI Startups Labs on Building and Managing a Team .

August 2022

In an essay for the Reynolds Journalism Institute, Project Optimist founder Nora Hertel shares the early development of the organization and its dual focus on solutions journalism and community conversations.

April 2022

Reynolds Journalism Institute announces funding for three news startups including Project Optimist (then called The Optimist) in spring 2022.

Initiative Foundation features its 2022 to 2023 Initiators Fellows, including Nora Hertel, in its spring issue of IQ Magazine.