Skip to primary content


Hello RepJ Followers, Meet Bonnie Obremski

At just about the time as I am writing this, Bonnie Obremski, our first Representative Journalism fellow, is arriving in Northfield, Minnesota. Once she settles in, she will be filing in-depth stories for the Locally Grown blog run by Ross Currier, Tracy Davis and Griff Wigley.Bonnie Obremski

Of course, Bill Densmore, who is giving logistics support, Chris Peck, who is giving editorial oversight, and I have been waiting for this moment ever since Ruth Ann Harnisch called and said, “Len, you can make this happen.” Initially, I just wanted to find someone else to do it, but Harnisch kept insisting that I was the person who conceived the idea, understood it and should advance it.

So with support from the Harnisch Family Foundation, Obremski will be providing insightful stories about once a week, with updates more frequently. Some will be text driven, others videos and podcasts. We hope to have the entire Northfield community jump on board via Locally Grown. Our trail question is: Can high quality journalism be a vital part of the informational glue that will help keep the community engaged? Already Wigley, Davis and Currier with their blog posts draw more than 6,500 unique visitors a month.

Obremski had just finished a two-year general assignment gig at the North Adams (Mass.) Transcript, when Densmore “discovered” her for the Representative Journalism fellowship.

She comes highly recommended by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Madeleine Blais, now a professor at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. She has followed Obremski’s career for years and says: “I have mentored her quite extensively since she was a first-year student at Hampshire College. What a wonderful confluence of opportunities and good people. She is the real deal and you will be thrilled to have her on your team.”

Obremski stopped by our summer place in New Hampshire before embarking cross country to Northfield. She passed the ultimate test. She can truck on a mountain bike – and sing Joni Mitchell songs, while accompanying herself on the guitar. Oh, yeah, here is my public relations release quote:

“All indications are that Bonnie Obremski is a great choice. She loves journalism, embraces the new digital technologies and understands the workings of small town community life. All three elements are vital for the success of this trial project.”

And here is Obremski: “Northfield teems with stories of local importance and national significance, and there is significant community participation in Locally Grown’s online discussion every month. As the representative journalism fellow, my goal is to boost participation levels even more within the year.”

Ok, both quotes have a PR ring to them, but I know from reading her stories and spending a day with her, both her words and mine are heartfelt. We are ready to go.Bonnie Obremski

Watch for updates as our trial project finally moves from the talking stage to the action stage. Want to learn more about our project, see the video here and keep an eye on Locally Grown — and of course join the discussion both here at a Locally Grown.

2 Responses to “Hello RepJ Followers, Meet Bonnie Obremski”

  1. Leonard Witt Says:

    It’s been a while since we posted here, but there is lots of activity at Locally Grown, more soon.

  2. Representative Journalism - Blog - Rep J to Help Main Street Understand Fiscal Crisis Says:

    [...] that is taking place in Northfield, Minnesota via the Locally Grown blog. As many of you know, Bonnie Obremski, thanks to Harnisch Foundation funding, is now Northfield’s very own Rep J [...]

Leave a Reply


About RJ

  • Your host

    Leonard Witt

    Leonard Witt is the Robert D. Fowler Distinguished Chair in Communication at Kennesaw State University and the chief blogger at

    More ›

  • Advisory Board

  • What I'm thinking about

  • A Definition

    Representative Journalism, a term coined by Leonard Witt, aims to build sustainable journalism one small group at a time.

    Read More Here ›

  • Your Role

    Leonard Witt has been developing the Representative Journalism idea behind the scenes for several months. Now he is going public. You can help develop the concept into a workable model or models for mainstream media, small operations, start-ups or individual endeavors.

    Join this online think-tank either ad hoc or sign up in the box that says "Join this Community." Let's make postive change together.