Our team of professional consultants provide a full range of marketing services. We specialize in print and online advertising, company image building, and local marketing services in the Bismarck-Mandan area. Our combination of big-city ideas and small-town charisma gives our clients an edge in an increasingly competitive marketplace. In short, we give you to the tools to get noticed.
Highground Publishing Inc. operates a 10,000-circulation monthly newspaper in Bismarck-Mandan called the Great Plains Examiner. The newspaper’s mission is to provide an alternative to other newspapers in this market by offering high-quality journalism with a focus on local businesses, politics and the people who live, work and play in Bismarck and Mandan. The weekly newspaper is directed toward a professional audience. Our staff of veteran journalists focuses on investigative news, in-depth coverage of the community and the most accurate analysis of important local issues. We are committed to nonpartisan journalism, providing detailed information and allowing readers to make up their own minds. The newspaper is owned and operated by North Dakotans, and its parent company, Highground Publishing Inc., is based in Bismarck. Read the Great Plains Examiner online at www.GreatPlainsExaminer.com. You can also follow us on Facebook or Twitter.
Matt Bunk, publisher
Matt Bunk has more than 12 years of experience in journalism and has won dozens of state and regional journalism awards. His career includes six years of newsroom management and four years of directing online news and multimedia projects. He also led marketing efforts as vice president of a magazine publishing company. His most recent position was as managing editor of the Arizona Capitol Times, the most-respected political news source in Arizona. He directed coverage of the 2008 presidential election, including the Republican and Democratic national conventions. He also appeared as a political analyst on ABC News, C-Span and National Public Radio. Prior to the 2008 presidential election, he was the political editor for a 100,000-circulation newspaper in Phoenix, Arizona. In his early years as a journalist, he was a business writer for a 300,000-circulation newspaper group in the San Francisco Bay Area, covering the economy and public companies such as Clorox, Disney, Chevron and Safeway. He grew up in Bismarck, graduated from Century High School and attended college at Montana State University, Bismarck State College and Dickinson State University.
Mike Albrecht, contributing writer
Mike Albrecht has worked to fill the pages of more than half a dozen North Dakota publications in his 12-year journalism career. Although he was born and raised in Mandan, Mike got his start as a reporter and later news editor at weekly newspapers in western North Dakota. He jumped at the chance to move back to his hometown in 2000 to work as editor of the Morton County and Mandan News. Mike later decided to challenge himself to a daily deadline, transferring to the Bismarck Tribune to report on local news and events. He received various local and state awards for reporting, personal columns and photography at each newspaper. Most recently, Mike has worked as a freelance reporter with articles appearing in numerous local publications. Mike attended Mandan High School, Bismarck State College and received his bachelor’s degree in mass communication from the Minnesota State University in Moorhead. He currently lives in Mandan with his wife and daughter. He reports to fund his passion for board-related sports.
Kelly Hagen, contributing writer
Kelly Hagen is a familiar face to readers in western North Dakota. He has been featured weekly in the Bismarck Tribune as a columnist for nearly five years. His writing abilities have earned him top honors in humor writing from the North Dakota Newspaper Association, numerous other awards, a feature on KFYR TV news and recognition from readers across the state and nation. While at the Tribune, he was a copy editor and special sections editor. He wrote feature stories, administered the paper's website, wrote headlines and edited and designed the paper's pages. He also planned and coordinated editorial material for the daily paper and its niche publications. His front page design on the event of President Barack Obama's inauguration was named one of the 10 best in the U.S. by Newseum. Previous to working for the Tribune, he was a copy editor at The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead and a feature writer at the High Plains Reader. Hagen was born in Bismarck and grew up in Wilton. He graduated from Bismarck State College with a degree in journalism and received a bachelor's degree from Minnesota State University in Moorhead. He lives in Bismarck with his wife, sweet Annette, and their infant daughter
Erik Hagen, blogger
Erik Hagen has one of the longest tenures as a blogger in the Bismarck-Mandan area, as well as being one of the area's most well-known. As one of the original bloggers on the Bismarck Tribune's TriBlogs section in 2003, his blog The Expatriate Act lasted longer than any other blog featured on the site, as well as being one of the most-read. In addition, in 2007, Erik became the featured writer on SodBlog, an independent website consisting of a collection of local bloggers focused on politics and entertainment. Erik is a copywriter and social media director for KK BOLD, one of North Dakota's largest advertising agencies. He is a graduate of Bismarck State College and Minnesota State University Moorhead, where he graduated with a degree in writing with an emphasis on English. During his time at Moorhead, he worked as an intern at New Rivers Press. Hagen was born in Bismarck and grew up in Wilton. He now lives in Bismarck with his wife, Jessy, and their daughter, Izabel.
Michelle Farnsworth, contributing writer
Michelle Farnsworth is a Bismarck native who graduated from Moorhead State University with a bachelor’s degree in mass communications and public relations. After moving to Seattle, she found her way back home to marry and raise a family. Her love for writing and telling stories has been expressed in her citizen columns for the Bismarck Tribune. Michelle also has been a contributing writer for Fine Living Review. Writing about her children and their daily experiences sparked her natural love of journalism. Michelle is an intuitive and tenacious reporter who will go after a story and most likely get it every time. Michelle has her own custom jewelry-design business, Chell’s Chic Creations. While she’s making jewelry, she is usually thinking of stories to write. Michelle lives in Bismarck with her two amazing boys, patient husband and her Boston terrier named Cowboy. She is also a great dancer (at least she thinks so).
Tim Flagstad, sports writer
Tim Flagstad was born and raised in Minot, and he earned a bachelor's degree in English at Saint John's University in Collegeville, Minn. Following stops at the Jamestown Sun and The Forum of Fargo Moorhead, he served as sports editor at the Idaho State Journal in Pocatello, Idaho, from 2006 until 2010. In 2008, the Associated Press Sports Editors honored Flagstad as having one of the top 10 feature stories and game stories nationally for newspapers with circulation under 40,000. APSE also named the Idaho State Journal among the top 10 daily and Sunday sports sections in the nation for newspapers under 20,000 circulation during Flagstad's tenure at the paper. Flagstad also earned first-place honors for feature writing and column writing from the Utah-Idaho-Spokane Associated Press Association. Flagstad now lives in Bismarck and enjoys writing, reading, running and traveling.
Reid Wilson, contributing writer
Reid Wilson is editor-in-chief of National Journal Hotline, and he contributes analysis of the national political environment in his weekly column, On The Trail. Reid is also a political contributor to Sirius-XM Radio. Before becoming editor-in-chief, he was editor of Hotline On Call, Hotline's political blog. He also served as a staff writer at The Hill newspaper, where he covered Congress, politics, campaigns and elections. He has covered the Supreme Court, the Federal Election Commission and top political races as they develop across the country. Reid spent the 2008 election cycle authoring a popular blog at RealClearPolitics.com, where he covered the presidential caucuses in Iowa, the primaries in New Hampshire and several debates across the nation. He also hosted a nationally broadcast political talk show on XM Satellite Radio, on which he hosted the top newsmakers, reporters and analysts in the nation, including House Minority Leader John Boehner, Democratic Congressional Committee Chairman Chris Van Hollen, and top advisors to both the Democratic and Republican presidential nominees. In 2006, he covered polls and polling for The Hotline. He also has written for The New Republic, the Arizona Capitol Times, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and National Journal. He has appeared as a guest analyst on dozens of radio shows across the nation and on CNN, MSNBC, Fox News and C-Span. A native of Seattle, Reid graduated from The George Washington University.
Steve Hoffbeck, contributing writer
Dr. Steve Hoffbeck is a professor of history at Minnesota State University Moorhead. Specializing in the history of the Upper Midwest, Hoffbeck has written about topics that range from dust storms to B-52 bombers to fallout shelters. A book that he wrote about the trials and joys of farming, The Haymakers: A Chronicle of Five Farm Families, won a Minnesota Book Award in 2001. Hoffbeck’s second book, Swinging For The Fences: Black Baseball in Minnesota, won the 2005 Sporting News/SABR Baseball Research Award. Hoffbeck and a team of writers wrote of black athletes who had to overcome the "color line" to find fulfillment on the baseball diamonds of Minnesota and North Dakota. Professor Hoffbeck has published several articles in Minnesota History magazine and in North Dakota History. Additionally, he has written articles about baseball and agricultural topics for regional magazines. He lives in Barnesville, Minn., with his wife and family.
Sarah McCurdy, contributing writer
Sarah McCurdy is a story-catcher and freelance writer. She has experience writing in a variety of fields, including radio, television, advertising, print, web and public relations. She spent six years at an NBC/CBS affiliate, covering a variety of stories and was nominated for a regional Emmy in 2009. McCurdy managed two Fargo-based magazines before launching her own writing business in 2009. Currently she contributes to magazines and newspapers, manages content for an outdoor magazine and takes on client projects. She lives in Fargo, N.D. with her husband and their cute puppy, Maple. Visit her at www.SarahMcCurdy.net.
Anjanette Riley, contributing writer
Anjanette Riley is an award-winning journalist who specializes in political reporting and, specifically, covering state and national health care systems. She became a contributing writer for the Great Plains Examiner after reporting for more than a year on the health care system in Arizona, where she exposed critical deficiencies in state mental health programs. She earned two national awards while working for the Arizona Capitol Times and covering the various health care plans proposed by presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain during the 2008 election. She is a graduate of Arizona State University with degrees in English literature and political science. She received her master’s degree in English studies from Illinois State University, where she is also a teacher working to help students improve their writing and communication skills. Anjanette lives with her husband in Champaign, Ill.