THE PULL: MPR’s Dave Kansas

Highlights of Dave Kansas' talk with Bethel journalists.


By Staff

Dave Kansas graduated from Columbia University in New York with a bachelor’s degree in American history. Kansas has held several editing positions for The Wall Street Journal, even after leaving three times.

Kansas has worked with MPR for more than five years. Today, he is the chief operating officer of Minnesota Public Radio and American Public Media. Kansas is also the director of Bethel University’s Johnson Center for Journalism and Communication. He hosted Bethel journalists at MPR April 28, and here are the highlights of his talk:

I went to Macalester. I played football because I’m a big burly football player… I was the smallest guy on the team.

I realized I wasn’t gonna be much of a football player and I really wanted to be a journalist. I had wanted to be a journalist my whole life.

I was blissfully naive. I hadn’t been on a plane ‘til I was 17 and that was because my high school Quiz Bowl team won the state championship and they flew us to Dallas for the nationals.

20170428_schmidt_MPR (120)
Bethel University journalism students scribble notes as they listen to Chief Operating Officer of Minnesota Public Radio and American Public Media Dave Kansas at the MPR headquarters April 28. The students sat in the USB forum, a “public space dedicated to exploration and dialogue concerning our society’s most pressing public policy and cultural issues” according to the MPR website. | Photo by Callie Schmidt

Upon arriving in New York, I was at the Columbia Dupont Journalism Awards. I put on a blue blazer with the gold plastic buttons I wore at my graduation, and a Mickey Mouse tie. And I walked in there and there were all these big TV news stars.

I was like ‘Yes, I work at the radio station’… I hadn’t even had a class there yet.

I also delivered the New York Times for a while. That was the only time I got mugged.

Observe and describe. That’s a skill that will help you in every area of your life.

As a Christian, I think faith and truth-seeking are vital components to journalism.

I left The Wall Street Journal three times.

It’s always good to leave a place with grace.

Like most Midwesterners, I moved back to Minnesota after having a kid, like salmon back to the pond.

I’ve been at MPR for more than five years. This is the longest i’ve been at any job.

The most popular gift for members [of MPR] is the state park permits. We have to get people to pay for something that is free, so you have to be good at what you do.

It’s still not well reported, this city/rural divide. It creates not necessarily party splits but cultural splits.

I miss writing, I miss the journalism.

When people tell you radio is dead, they’re not quite right yet.

Edited by McKenzie Van Loh

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