Paul Lundgren and John Hatcher of One River, Many Stories with Kris Eilers of St. Louis River Alliance at KUMD's studio with Northland Morning host, Lisa Johnson (back row).

Paul Lundgren and John Hatcher of One River, Many Stories at KUMD’s studio with Kris Eilers of St. Louis River Alliance and Northland Morning host, Lisa Johnson (back row).

Award-winning Northland morning host Lisa Johnson recently recorded an interview for KUMD’s Community Conversations with Kris Eilers of the St. Louis River Alliance, and Paul Lundgren and John Hatcher of One River, Many Stories.

As the group tells it, each person had a role to play in this unfolding story. Lundgren wanted to do something to follow up on the dream of his mentor, the late Mike Simonson, to produce a documentary about the St. Louis River. Hatcher wondered if journalists in the same community could collaborate, and was looking for an issue of wide interest to journalists and storytellers, like the growing focus on the St. Louis River. Eilers was thrilled with the idea of a vehicle for different and broader perspectives, new stories and stewardship-building for the river.

The recording of the broadcast is now available online. Tune in to hear how the project aims to look at the regional media ecosystem and broaden the usual definition of “journalist” to include community storytellers, neighborhoods newspapers, bloggers and other community outlets. John Hatcher says the intention is not to tell anyone how to do their work, only to invite collaboration. Early on, the project team recognized that experts from elsewhere aren’t needed. There is an abundance of local talent here in our region to share knowledge and tools, as evident in the lineup of Skill Session presenters.

As Paul Lundgren points out, the project offers a friendly competition as well, with creative minds duking it out to see who will produce the best St. Louis River story.

Eilers offers an important community perspective on the project as a way to enhance the St. Louis River Alliance’s goal of connecting people to the river. She notes the need for more information about the many agencies, companies, partners, and initiatives involved with the river, particularly with proposed funding for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to undertake cleanup and restoration efforts.

All told, the project aims to build community among journalists and increase citizen engagement. The organizers expect to face tough questions about the project’s success — and hope it results in an agreement on basic tenets and ethical guidelines about how we’ll tell stories in our community.

Lisa Johnson in the Northland Morning audio at KUMD.

Lisa Johnson in the Northland Morning studio at KUMD.

You can listen to the full broadcast here.








“One River, Many Stories” is a journalism, media and storytelling project and resource hub for journalists, educators, and citizens to foster deeper conversations about our community. This University of Minnesota Duluth Journalism program project is funded in part by the Knight Foundation Fund of the Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation.

St. Louis River, April 2016: See what happens when journalists and storytellers in one region turn their attention to one topic.

For more information, please contact Project Coordinator Judy Budreau at