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Expensive gas has affected the amount of money that most Mankato consumers are spending  at gas stations on items from gum to cigarettes.

The recent trend of rising gas prices has sparked a change in the way Mankato residents have been spending at gas stations.  Gas prices are currently at $3.85 per gallon in Mankato, anywhere from $0.03-$0.10 cheaper than gas prices in the Twin Cities.

Over the last month, the average price per gallon for unleaded gasoline has risen almost $0.40. This recent trend of high gas prices seems to be the long and expensive beginning to an even longer and more expensive summer full of changes in consumer spending.

There are several factors that go into determining the price of gasoline other than the price of oil.  These factors are:

  • the amount of taxes paid
  • the cost to refine oil into gasoline
  • the transportation costs
  • the profit of the gasoline dealer

It seems very evident and has been predicted by many experts that gas prices will rise to well over $4.00 per gallon by the time summer rolls around, a time when motorists spend a lot of time on the road.

Once this happens, there is no doubt that consumers pockets will be taking a huge hit as they spend less on unnecessary consumer items sold at gas stations, and more on gasoline.

Changes at SuperAmerica

Super America, a large gas station chain that is most commonly found in bigger towns around Metro areas, has already seen some noticeable changes in their sales caused by gas prices.

“Ever since gas prices were over $3.50 per gallon, sales have been down about 10%,” says John Faramah, General Manager of the SuperAmerica on Riverfront Drive in Mankato, east of Highway 169.  “People spend less on drinks and cigarettes now than they ever have before because of gas prices.”

Like most gas stations, SuperAmerica makes little profit off of gasoline sales alone. “We only make 3-4 cents per gallon of gas that customers put into their cars,” Faramah says.  “Gas stations make more money off of product sales so they try to promote the sale of products as often as they can.”

SuperAmerica has also seen a change in the amount of gas that customers have been putting into their cars each time they fill up at the pump.

“Since gas prices have been on the rise lately, we have seen customers filling up only five to ten dollars at the pump,” Faramah explains.  “This is enough for a day full of running errands or something.  When gas was cheaper, people would wait until they needed to fill their whole tank up before they went to the gas station.”

Now that gas prices are close to $4.00 per gallon, customer service is more important than ever.

“We have always stressed customer service.  I don’t think that there is ever a time when customer service isn’t important, but it’s times like these where it is more important than ever,” Faramah says.

“We have been giving out free coffee to all customers who come in.  We have also been giving away free lighters to people buying cigarettes in an attempt to keep them coming back again and again.  Because of these escalating gas prices, we have been forced to raise the prices of items inside the store.  We have raised the prices of some certain candy bars from $0.99 to $1.19 to make up for the decrease in sales we have been seeing”

A smaller perspective

The recent trend of rising gas prices has affected gas stations of all shapes and sizes.

Lor Ray Deli Mart, a small, privately owned gas station in North Mankato has seen a drop in sales as well.

“We have seen a slight decrease in sales, but surprisingly it isn’t as noticeable as you’d think,” Jesse Enggren, the owner of Lor Ray Deli Mart says.  “Inside sales have suffered more than anything because people spend too much at the pump and can’t afford to buy items from inside.”

Enggren also goes on to explain how gas prices work. “There is a state law that says gas stations are allowed to sell gas for no more than $0.08 per gallon more than the actual price.  For example, if gas is $3.50 per gallon, we are allowed to sell it for $3.58, according to the state.  The state allows us to do this as a way to make a few extra bucks here and there.”

Enggren also says that he hasn’t noticed much of a change in the way that people are filling up their cars with gas.

“From what I have noticed is that people still seem be filling up their cars at their normal rates.  There are still those people who wait until their tank is close to empty and spend close $60.00 on gas, depending on the car they drive.  There are also those people that wait until they have a half a tank of gas left and spend between $25.00 and $30.00.  The thing people don’t realize is that they will save themselves a little bit of money if they fill up their tank less often.”

Like every retail business, customer service plays a huge role in the way things operate and now that gas prices are on the rise.  Smaller establishments like Lor Ray Deli Mart have to stress good customer service as well.

“Every customer that comes through the door is so important regardless of gas prices.  It is true that the gas prices have affected our customer service but it has only made our customer service improve.”

The Oddball

Another primary gas station in the Mankato area is Kwik Trip.  Kwik Trip is another large chain of gas stations located primarily in smaller towns located away from metro areas.

Unlike SuperAmerica and Lor Ray Deli Mart, the recent escalating gas prices haven’t turned away Kwik Trip customers from spending.

“Sales at Kwik Trip haven’t been affected at all the way you’d think given the high cost of gasoline.  As a matter of fact, throughout the recession over the last two years, this particular Kwik Trip has actually had record setting sales both years,” said Chris Erickson, the general manager of the Kwik Trip on the corner of Riverfront Drive and Stolzman Road in Mankato.

“I think that one of the reasons that we have experienced such high sales over the last two years has to do with our location.  Obviously, Mankato is a college town with a lot of students being from the Twin Cities or the surrounding area.  Our gas station is the first one that students come across once they get off the highway, and a lot come in to buy something after their long drive down here,” Erickson explains.

The hot food that Kwik Trip sells has also helped contribute to their record sales over the last two years.

“Most of the money we make here comes from our hot food program,” Erickson says.  “This is because our hot food is independently made.  It doesn’t come from an outside provider so there is no middle man.”

Erickson also explains that one of  the ways that Kwik Trip has been able to maintain high sales over the last two years despite high gas prices and a recession is its competitiveness.

“We always try to stay as competitive with other gas stations around town.  If someone else offers a promotion to its’ customers, we will do whatever possible to make sure we can offer our valuable customers the same promotion.”

However, there is one similarity between Kwik Trip and Lor Ray Deli Mart, the small privately owned gas station in North Mankato.

Erickson claims that he hasn’t seen much of a change in the amount of gas that customers put into their cars.  “Like every gas station I would imagine, there are those customers that put gas into their cars every day and others that wait until their gas light is on.  It just depends on the customer.”

What’s next?

The recent trend of rising gas prices and the amount of money that customers spend inside the gas station has become more hand in hand over the last few months.

Customers are spending more of their hard-earned cash on gasoline and have less to spend on luxury items inside the store such as soft drinks, chips, other food items, gum, and even tobacco products.

Gas prices in Mankato are currently $0.68 per gallon higher than the entire price per gallon state average was on February 14; almost three months ago.

Could this be the time for people to consider becoming members of bulk shopping outlets such as Sam’s Club in order to take advantage of their discounted gas prices?  Sam’s Club on Madison Avenue in Mankato offers gasoline exclusively to its members for $0.07 per gallon cheaper than the average gas station in Mankato.

It seems that there is no end in sight, as gas prices have been projected as high as between $4.00 and $5.00 per gallon by the middle of summer.

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One of the main ethical issues and guidelines that I would put into place if I were to create a social media policy is to require all employees and people working in the news room to do everything in their power to make sure that they do everything in their power to give themselves a good reputation.

This could mean many things.  For one it is being “politically correct.”  By this I mean saying things and wording things in ways that they will not offend anyone.  Another thing that would be required of all people using social media in my news room, is I would require them all to make sure that they type in complete sentences and use proper grammar.  Using proper grammar is one thing that people in a news room should do automatically, considering the profession they have and job they work.

Another rule that I would set into place is to require all workers using social media in a work related form do just that.  Everyone knows that social media can be a huge distraction from the real task at hand.  It is important to make sure that all of the people using social media in work environment use it for work purposes only.

For example, using things such as Facebook and Twitter for work purposes should mean you use them to inform people about what your organization is doing and keeping your audience and followers updated about what is going on in your organization, instead of speaking your mind about a variety of issues, some of which might have nothing to do with what is really important or what you’re supposed to really be doing.

Given the fact that I have set these rules, the only thing I could do is set an example for everyone else and follow the rules that I have set in place to the best of my abilities.  If I set these rules for others and did not follow them myself what kind of example would I be setting? The people that I would expect to follow these rules would see that I wasn’t following the rules that I expected them to follow.

I believe that these rules that I would put into place are necessary for the ethical practice of online journalism. When engaging in online journalism, it is important to be as ethical as possible and make sure that one is doing things in not only the right way, but in a way that is not frowned upon by those who see it.  The online world is one where almost anyone can have access to anything at any time.

For someone who operates in online journalism, it is important to make sure that the information you present to the public across the world doesn’t offend anyone or violate any social norms.  That is why setting rules in the news room for online journalism is important and those rules must be followed very strictly.

Flip Video Critique

It is my opinion that the camera angles and camera movement that were used in this video aren’t very effective.  I thought the camera angles were from what angles appeared too “awkward” to me.  They all showed images that seemed to have too much going on.  The images shown by the movement and angles of the camera were too cluttered and seemed to take away from the main subject that was trying to be shown.  For these camera angles and camera movements to improve, they should focus more specifically on the intended subject of the shot than on what’s going on in the background.

I thought that the audio, both the music and the voice, were perfectly fine.  The voiceovers as well as interviews i thought sounded very professional and the questions made me want to actually hear what the person being interviewed had to say, which is a rarity.

If there was one thing that I could have done to make this documentary better if I was doing PR for NY Fashion Week, I would have done a little bit better of a job conducting the interviews.  The people being interviewed were introduced, but not enough to the point to where I knew really who they were.  When posting a video about an event that isn’t followed by a lot of people and that features people who are followed by even less people, it would be nice to know a little bit more about the people that were being interviewed.  Just so that the viewer has a little bit more of a background about the subjects and people in the video.

The online news story that I chose to write about for this blog post was found that I found on the New York Times website.  The article is entitled ‘Libyan Rebels March Toward Qaddafi Stronghold.’  The article is about the rebellion taking place in the African country of Libya.

In my opinion, this online news article is a strong one because of the fact that it is about a very important issue taking place in the world that people should be following and paying attention too.  The visual elements of this story ad an element of furthuring the information and giving the reader a broader sense of what is going on with the situation in Libya.  The photo gallery located on the left hand side of the new article shows the readers different photos telling different aspects of the story.  One of the pictures in the gallery also directs readers to another photo gallery showing photos from the beginning of the protests until the current state that they are in now.

It is my opinion that the story was told very effectively in the way and format that it is currently in in the link that I have provided above.  This example of this news story actually is one of the better ones that I have seen regarding this current issue in Libya.  Some of the other stories have multiple photos that go along with them, however, this is the only one that I have seen that links you to another photo gallery showing pictures from the course of the protests taking place, starting at the beginning and leading up to the most recent pictures taken.

For example, one of the pictures in the photo gallery, which contains 93 pictures, is the same picture that is used as the main picture of the article.  The picture shows a man wearing a form of camoflauge, holding what appears to be an AK-47 assault rifle.  The fact that this image shows a man, who doesn’t appear to be any form of police/law enforcement or government official and is allowed to walk the streets with a deadly weapon such as a gun used in military battle scares me.

Another picture in the photo gallery that helps portray the seriousness of the situation taking place in Libya is one that occurs a few pictures after the one I have previously mentioned.  This image shows three men standing on top of a military tank holding a large flag.  This picture shows to me the different sides of the story and how it is affecting the citizens of Libya.

Consumers base their car-purchasing decisions based on the price of gas.

The trend of people downsizing vehicles they own maybe be repeating itself.  This trend began in 2008 when the price of gas skyrocketed.

Bob Anderson, a Luther Mankato Honda sales consultant has seen this first hand.  “When gas prices go up, the focus goes to vehicles that get high gas mileage,” but the opposite is also true; when gas prices are lower, people tend to buy bigger cars with lower gas mileage.

When gas prices fell from $4 to $3 a gallon in 2008, Anderson said that the demand for larger vehicles rose accordingly.

Last week in Mankato, gasoline was at about #3.60 per gallon, but that might change in a very short time.  The U.S. Energy Information Administration said there is a 25 percent chance that by summer, gas prices will have surpassed $4 a gallon.

This report, was released just 24 hours after oil prices hit their highest point in over two years.

Pat Adams, a sales manager at Mankato Motor Co. says that he hasn’t noticed as big of a customer push toward better mileage cars as he did in 2008.  Adams thinks that the reason for this is because, now, people may be better prepared for higher gas prices.

Ben Heintz of Heintz Toyota agrees with Adams.  Heintz seems to think that purchasing choices will continue to follow what is expected of them as long as gas prices hold steady at where they are now. “Gas isn’t high-enough-priced yet, but once it reaches $4, then people will get a little goofy and panic a bit.  Four dollar to $5 gas has a lot of people concerned.”

Aside from people being concerned about fuel prices, companies show concern as well.  Volk Transfer of Mankato, a company that uses fuel in mass quantities, logs more than one million miles of driving a year.

Jane Goettl, the human resources and safety manager for Volk Transfer, said the company has taken measures in order to monitor its fuel expenses.  These measures include fuel-conservation incentives for drivers as well as lowering it’s trucks top speed to 68 mph, down from 74.

In the meantime, car dealers say the sale of four-cylinder and hybrid vehicles continue to move off of dealer lots at close to the same pace as they did  in 2008 when fuel prices rose dramatically.

A recent survey conducted by Kelley Blue Book, a reference guide for vehicle values and pricing, showed that four our of five consumers say that their car choices are influence by gas prices.

However because large trucks and SUVs are required for work purposes and people who spend a lot of time outdoors, there is still a reoccurring demand for them.

Meredith Frank of New Ulm doesn’t find the price of gases to her liking.  For the past four years, she has commuted to her job in Mankato.  “It’s getting old,” she said.  The SUV she drives costs around $70 to fill up.

Frank said that having a more-fuel efficient vehicle would be nice but she feels her four-wheel drive SUV ensures her safety in the snowy winters.

 

Keywords:  Gas Prices, Mankato, Mankato Motor Co.

Who is the editor in chief?

The editor in chief of the MSU Reporter is Nate Brennan.  Brennan graduated from Herrin High School in Southern Illinois.  After high school, Brennan moved to Minnesota to attend MSU.  Brennan says that while editor in chief of the Reporter, his goals include bringing readers entertaining features such as web-only video, audio and print content such as podcasts.  He also wants to tell stories of outstandind students, faculty, and alumni as well as establish a better relationship between MSU and the city of Mankato.

Editor Board 2010-2011

What is the MSU Reporter?

The MSU reporter is a student-ran newspaper that represents Minnesota State University, Mankato.  The MSU Reporter was originally titled the College Reporter and has been one of the big things on campus since 1928.

What is it?

When is it published?

Today, the reporter is published every Tuesday and Thursday.  An online version is also available during the academic year.

Publication Information

Who is responsible for the MSU Reporter?

The paper is student-operated.  The Reporter provides the Mankato community with the area’s most complete source of campus news, sports and entertainment as well as state, national and world news.

Who is behind it?

How do I subscribed to the MSU Reporter?

The MSU Reporter is available to MSU students for free and is located in 12 locations across campus. The Reporter has a weekly circulation of 12,000 copies: 6,000 for Tuesday issue and 6,000 for Thursday issue.  For those that aren’t MSU students and don’t get the paper free, they can subscribe to the Reporter call (507) 389-1926. Subscriptions for the academic school year are $45.00 and subscribers will receive the paper within three to five days after publishing.

Subscription Information

Minnesota food shelves face difficulties in keeping up with the high amount of hungry residents.

 

Since 2000, food shelf usage across the state of Minnesota has tripled to more than 3 million visits annually.

According to the Minnesota FoodShare campaign, food shelf visits in Minnesota increased by 25 percent between 2008 and 2009, the largest  in 28 years.   Food shelf usage also increased 14 percent on average across Minnesota in 2010.  Some food shelves in the Twin Cities saw as much as a 60 percent increase.

It is estimated that 14 percent, or about 723,000 Minnesotans, do not have enough food.

Beginning in 1982, the Minnesota FoodShare March Campaign aims to do all they can to help hungry Minnesotans.The annual campaign, has a goal of raising a combined 12 million dollars and pounds of food.

Once this goal of 12 million combined pounds and dollars is met, it will help restock food shelves across the state, including close to two dozen in Central Minnesota.

Several things, like food drives and monetary donations, can be done to help the situation improve.

Those participating in the Minnesota FoodShare program, report their totals once a week throughout the month of March, with final donation totals being due the first week of April.

 

Keywords: Minnesota Foodshare, Twin Cities, Minnesota

MSU Reporter FAQ

MSU Reporter Frequently Asked Questions

Who is the Editor in Chief?

A resident of Southern Illinois and graduate of Herrin High School, Nate Brennan relocated to Mankato, Minn. to attend Minnesota State University, where his father, Paul, is a professor of accounting in the business department.  Brennan’s goals for the paper during his tenure as editor-in-chief include bringing readers entertaining features such as web-only video, audio and print content such as podcasts and artists series, and telling stories of outstanding and interesting students, faculty and alumni and cultivating a better community between MSU and the city of Mankato.

Editor Board 2010-2011

What is the MSU Reporter?

The MSU Reporter is the student-run newspaper that represents Minnesota State University, Mankato. Originally titled The College Reporter when the university was Minnesota State Teachers’ College, the Reporter has been a fixture on campus an in the Mankato community since 1928.

What it is.

When it published?

Today’s Reporter is published in print on Tuesday and Thursday, in addition to an online version, during the academic year.

Publication Information

Who is behind the MSU Reporter?

The paper is student-operated and generates 83 percent of its operating budget. The Reporter is instrumental in providing the Minnesota State University, Mankato community with the area’s most comprehensive source of campus news, sports and entertainment as well as state, national and world news.

Who is behind it?

Has the paper received any awards?

The Reporter is consistently producing award-winning editorial and advertising content.

In 2010, the Reporter earned the Minnesota Newspaper Association’s General Advertising Excellence award for the tenth straight year among college newspapers. In addition, the last few years our editorial staff has helped us to earn the following honors:

• Associated Collegiate Press, Best of Show, 2010, 10th Place

• Society of Profesional Journalists, Mark of Excellence Award, 2008, Region 8, 2nd Place

• Associated Collegiate Press, Newspaper of the Year, 2006, 3rd Place

Awards

How do i subscribe to the MSU Reporter?

To subscribe to the Reporter call (507) 389-1926. Subscriptions for the academic school year are $45.00 and subscribers will receive the paper within three to five days after publishing. If you already have a subscription and there is a delivery problem, please call (507) 389-1926.

However, The Reporter has a weekly circulation of 12,000 copies: 6,000 for Tuesday issue and 6,000 for Thursday issue. Additionally, the Reporter is distributed free-of-charge to 20 locations across the MSU campus and an additional 12 locations around the community.

Subscription Information





WhoIs Search

Have you ever encountered a website on the Internet that seems rather sketchy or unusual? The answer to this question is probably “yes.” Thankfully, the website InterNIC is a tool that can help you find out a little bit more about a website and where it came from. I used the InterNIC site to help me find out a little about the Americans For Freedom Organization.

I used the InterNIC WhoIs website to find out a little bit more information about Americans For Freedom. Michael Pinson is the registrar, administrartor, as well as the tech person for this group. The website was created on July 8, 2008 and it was last updated on March 31, 2010. Because Michael Pinson seems to be the owner, you can contact him by phone or e-mail. There is also a postal address give which happens to be located in Florida. The IP Address that was used is D153242103-LROR. It appears that because Michael Pinson seems to be the only person running this group and/or website, that he would be the one to contact for any questions.

If I were yo use this site in the future, I would probably only use it if I were planning on making a website. I would want all of the information about myself and my website that appears on WhoIs to be as accurate as possible. This website was a good for me to look at because it taught me that you can use the internet to find anything. Even when websites were created as well as who they were created by and where they were created.

Second Official Blog Post

Being introduced to a content management system would be a very valuable experience because it opens one’s doors to something that they wouldn’t normally be exposed to. In my opinion, a content management system such a blog, is something that many people would not be exposed to on their own. To be honest, if it wasn’t for this class then there is a very good chance that I would have never had my own blog. I guess I shouldn’t say NEVER; maybe I should have said right now.

I have learned a lot about creating online content that I didn’t know previously. Everything that I have learned in this class thus far this semester has been new to me. I didn’t have a blog until this class and I had never been into Twitter until this class. Both prove to be good tools when wanting to put content on the Web that originates in one’s own mind.

I was originally asked to begin working with content management systems for this class because it is a very good skill to have. Working with these systems has exposed me to a skill that I otherwise would have never had.

The three applications in my chosen career in which I might use this skill are in regards to writing news releases, if I have my own blog when I am engaged in my career because it is something that my employer wants its employees to have, or if the possibility of me having my own blog to help me along in my job.

I still have a lot of information to learn about working with content management systems. I understand the concept and how to do the basics, but I am still learning as I am going. Content management systems, such as this blog and other sites like Twitter There are a lot of things that I can do when it comes to content management systems that I still am unsure of how to do or don’t know what it means. I will develop my skills in this area by continuing to blog and learning and teaching myself as I go along.