Iron Range Newspaper Project

This program is a partnership with teen journalists throughout the Iron Range to create a 4-page newspaper about the history and future of the Range through original research, oral history interviews, and conversation with teens and community leaders. 

Iron Range Newspaper Project
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See what people had to say about this project! 
"I thought it was fantastic to recognize the kids’ achievements and explore the mining, printing, writing talents of our community. I’m so impressed with the information from the kids. Chris Ismil and Donna Lease [of Iron Range Youth in Action] have guided kids in such an incredible direction! The historical society was obviously a huge part of all of this." 
"It is nice to see children show an understanding of their heritage and their community- especially ours that is so rich in history. Thank you!"

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View the completed newspaper (PDF document): 

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“Iron Times” is a unique newspaper supplement about the history of the Iron Range through the eyes of young journalists. Teen staff at Generation W newspaper conducted original interviews with long term residents of the region, miners, and politicians. They also analyzed historic documents and conducted original research and reflected on their own experiences on the Range. The final product is a 4 page feature about the mines, the people, the journalists, and hopes and expectations for the future. The piece ran in the March-April edition of Generation W, a newspaper created by teens in the region.

The project was a partnership between the Minnesota Historical Society, the Minnesota Historical Society, and Works Progress, a public art & design studio. The teen journalists presented the document to members of the newspaper’s board, community stakeholders and peers at a community event to celebrate its completion in April 2012. 
Youth Participants: Alice, Aili, Andrew, Austin, Dezirae, Dominique, Hailey, Jenna, Juliann, Julia, Kaitlin, Katy, Magnolia, Rachel, Sara, Steven, Vicky
Adult Participants: Carol Borich, Keith Nelson, Veda Ponikvar, Steve Potts
For more information: Contact Project Manager Aleah Vinick at or 651-259-3417.

Background on the Iron Range
For more than half a century, Minnesota's iron ranges supplied the iron ore that fed the nation's steel mills. First mined in the 1880s, the three ranges - the Vermilion, Mesabi and Cuyuna - provided the economic underpinnings of northeastern Minnesota. They also drew waves of immigrant workers, creating the state's most diverse melting pot and a distinctive cultural legacy that still defines the region. Although mining has declined since the 1960s, the mines and the tight-knit communities they fostered have developed a new industry focused on cultural-heritage tourism. 

Find more about the area at the Iron Range Historical Society.

Project Details

Date: November 2011 - April 2012
Partner(s): Chis Ismil, Donna Leese, Iron Range Youth in Action; Carol Borich, Paul McLaughlin, Mesabi Range Community & Technical College; Minnesota Museum of Mining; Colin Kloecker, Shanai Mattson, Works Progress; Aleah Vinick, Minnesota Historical Society, Project Manager
Location: Virginia, MN

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