MPR publishes e-book based on Ground Level reporting

By Andrew Lapin and Dru Sefton

Minnesota Public Radio News has published a new e-book, Fighting for an American Countryside, which draws on a three-year reporting project from its Ground Level news initiative.

Ground Level, a multiplatform reporting project backed by the St. Paul–based Bush Foundation, profiles Minnesotans who are working to solve problems in their local communities. The book was co-authored by MPR News Ground Level reporter/blogger Jennifer Vogel and editor Dave Peters, and explores the efforts of civic leaders and grassroots activists to reinvent rural living in Minnesota.

The duo launched the reporting project in 2010 and decided to turn their coverage into an e-book in late 2012, according to Peters. That involved returning to earlier stories for additional reporting that fleshed out the book’s narrative. The e-book includes videos and interactive components.

“We wanted to take full advantage of the tools we had, not just write a long story and put it out there,” Peters said. “Don’t think of it as 12 little profiles of someone doing something nice. It’s meatier than that.”

“Over the past three years, while traveling to small towns across Minnesota,” Vogel said, “I have been stunned by the dedication and drive shown by people working to breathe life into once-abandoned Main Streets, empty industrial parks, forsaken rivers and vacant schools.”

The e-book is available for free download at iBookstore, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Vook, as well as on the MPR News website.

This article was first published in Current, Aug. 26, 2013.

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