Meet the Times-Register editor

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Audrey Posten is the editor of the newly-merged North Iowa Times-Clayton County Register.

By Audrey Posten, Times-Register

“Everyone you will ever meet knows something you don’t.” This quote from science educator and TV personality Bill Nye is one that’s shaped my career as a journalist. Whether I’m speaking with someone about their hobby, asking a farmer how he raises pigs, interviewing a student athlete about the game-winning touchdown or getting a public official to explain how an ordinance change might impact residents, I know everyone has a story to tell. Each person can provide a unique perspective that spurs discussion and community action, makes people think, brings them a smile or even a tear. Whether we’ve lived in a town for two months or five decades, it shows us there’s always something left to learn—something new to discover about our home and the people around us.

That allure—that opportunity to elevate people’s voices and make a difference—is what drew me into community journalism. I admit that wasn’t always the plan. 

After graduating from River Ridge High School, in Patch Grove, Wis., in 2009, I went off to college at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. I wanted something different than the small-town life I’d grown up with, an opportunity to experience new cultures and ideas. While journalism was always the plan, I initially wanted to focus on sportswriting. I’m a huge baseball fan and envisioned myself interviewing players from my favorite team, the Milwaukee Brewers. 

But as I worked for the college newspaper and took internships for local media companies, that image began to shift. Between uncovering sexual harassment allegations at the university and writing about the history of well-known Milwaukee taverns, I thought, “Why focus on one topic when you can report on many?”

After graduating in 2013, with degrees in journalism and history, I moved back home to the Prairie du Chien area, taking a summer job at the Courier Press newspaper while I searched for a full-time journalism position. Around one month in, with Trudy Balcom set to leave her job as editor of the North Iowa Times in McGregor, my then-boss Gary Howe asked if I was interested in taking over. 

I was a little scared. My Adobe Photoshop and InDesign skills were minimal, making laying out the paper a true adventure in trial and error, I had little familiarity with Iowa despite growing up right across the river, and, at just 22, I’d never been in charge of a whole publication—with the responsibility of generating all of its content squarely on my shoulders. But I gave it shot.

And it’s one I don’t regret. 

A lot of people say they love their job because every day is different. For me, that’s the truth. I’ve interviewed artists, politicians, teachers, police officers, veterans, business owners, cancer survivors—each one offering me a glimpse, if only for a little while, into their lives. I’ve experienced highs (flying above the Mississippi River bluffs in autumn) and lows (a town ravaged by a tornado). I’ve fielded some interesting requests: after an interview, one man canoeing down the Mississippi River asked if I knew where to buy some marijuana (I did not). I’ve made new friends and gotten involved in the community, serving on the McGregor Historical Museum board, taking over as president of the McGregor-Marquette Chamber of Commerce and helping with the MFL MarMac yearbook. I’ve received awards from the Iowa Newspaper Association—recognizing my reporting, feature writing, photography and social media skills—for six straight years.

Now, seven years later, I’m taking on a new challenge: editor of the newly-combined North Iowa Times-Clayton County Register. It’s a responsibility I do not take lightly. I know how important the newspapers are to their communities—how they record the first rough draft of history, how they offer a glimpse into a town’s past but can also show people where it’s going.

And we’re going to do our best to represent you, to keep you connected and informed, to tell your stories.

If you’d like to share news, photos or ideas, don’t hesitate to reach out to me at niteditor@mhtc.net or (563) 873-2210. Someday, when we can all mingle more freely again, don’t be afraid to stop me and say “hello.” I especially love discussing history (especially the Civil War), baseball and home rehab projects.

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