Mike Nistler '79

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Every two months subscribers to Minnesota Moments discover a treasure trove of small pleasures in their mailbox.

Mike NisterMike Nistler '79 of redBARN Publishing Co. in St. Cloud has created a magazine that often carries readers back to cherished childhood memories – yet just as frequently offers compelling ideas for making life in the future special, too. It's the high-quality, classy home and garden magazine for Central Minnesota that Nistler and co-publisher Diane Wimmer intended it to be.

"There are lots of jewels that seem to go unnoticed," Nistler said, referring to the people, places and events that make Central Minnesota what it is. And what it is, is the place where Nistler grew up, where he learned and practiced what he terms community journalism and, like all of us, is carving out a unique set of experiences with family, work and "just life."

On the pages of his magazine, Nistler is shining a light on those jewels, a few each issue. Great vacation spots, decorating and sumptuous food ideas, evocative memories shared by some of the best writers and photographers in the region, all contributing to the pleasure of this feel-good publication. Many are friends and former colleagues, including his wife Jeanine (Ryan) Nistler, also '79.

Nistler is carrying out a professional fantasy. "I am living that dream, short of writing the great American novel," he said. At 48 he's envisioning his own stories and images, making his own assignments and meeting his own deadlines. And he's still applying the same check-the-facts, be-sure-about-details rules that are the foundation of good writing.

It all started when he "stumbled into" the mass communications department. "That's where I met my wife, and all these great things happened to us at St. Cloud State. The University Chronicle staff was where I first was allowed to put words down that would get read," Nistler said. "I grew up a lot in those years. The staff became your family, and it's really where you learn responsibility – pasting pages, cutting our fingers with Exacto knives, meeting deadlines, being polite, being accurate. It's a great training ground."

"We think of the Chronicle as an incubator for journalists," said Professor Michael Vadnie, current adviser to the University Chronicle staff, friend to Nistler, and subscriber to Minnesota Moments. In each issue he sees Nistler's multiple talents of writing, photography and marketing being put to use in a slick, well produced magazine.

"It's a nice looking, modern Central Minnesota magazine," Vadnie said. "You get a zoned-in feeling about this part of the country."

That's just what Nistler intended it to be: "Like National Geographic for Central Minnesota."

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