Minnesota DNR Shuns My Media Access Request

Blog readers please excuse this brief rant. What it comes down to is my state’s DNR that holds an annual meeting to discuss fishing and hunting resources/management matters. Hundreds of the state’s most influential policymakers are INVITED to attend this 2-day conference to discuss concerns, management principles and essentially every aspect of the future of what us sportsmen enjoy in this state.

Several months back I mailed a handwritten note to the Minnesota DNR’s Chris Niskanen, Communications Director, Office of Communication and Outreach requesting to be included in these annual roundtable meetings. I shared with him my credentials along with my interest in reporting on the event through social media (Twitter, Facebook and blogging).

Well, you probably guessed it…Niskanen took NO ACTION on my request. Today, in fact, kicks off Day 2 of the event and once again a meeting which should be reported on by any means possible given the importance, was apparently only limited to selected “stakeholders” and traditional media outlets by invitation.Invite-Only

I guess what disappoints me the most is making an official request to a top official in the Office of Communication and Outreach and subsequently receiving NO COMMUNICATION in return. Perhaps they had some concerns such as space limitations, etc. which prevented the DNR extending me an invite…but to receive no response whatsoever is just plain rude, not to mention unprofessional.

On top of that, Niskanen came to the Minnesota DNR by leaving his outdoors writer job at the St. Paul Pioneer Press newspaper. During his tenure at the newspaper he even wrote occasional blog postings so you would think he would have some greater appreciation of the efforts I have been doing with this blog for nearly 8 years running.

What I have been talking about here details my frustrations with the Minnesota DNR. Yet, I suspect even in this quickly-evolving world where media is changing almost daily…there remains many in government—no matter what state—that just don’t get it. It’s not just happening in Minnesota, I’m sure.

And the problem is you can tell these DNR folks what they need to be doing and my experience has shown it usually falls on deaf ears. What a shame! For example, since 2010 I’ve been pushing for the state’s hunting and fishing regulations to be available in a smartphone friendly version…but again, you guessed it. They seem set in their ways to embrace the old and not to make changes that seem sensible on all levels.

In closing, I’m going to say this. I was willing to give up my time and make the effort necessary to learn more about my states’s DNR so I can better understand, for my communication endeavors, the dynamics of why they make the decisions they do. More importantly, I wanted to share with my network of social media readers all the important news that should be streaming from the 2012 Minnesota DNR Roundtable meetings.

Instead, I’m sitting home here on my birthday planning out how I will spend a much different day. And that’s okay…because my main goal of this posting is to expose just how out-of-touch the Minnesota DNR remains with those of us attempting to drive the social media communication effort.

©2012 Jim Braaten. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction without Prior Permission.