BONNERS FERRY — Mandi Bateman, the editor for the Bonners Ferry Herald, joined the Hagadone team in March of 2017. Originally from Northwest Washington, Bateman has lived in Oregon, Alaska, Hawaii, Colorado, Kentucky, and Montana. She and her husband moved from Kentucky to be closer to her father who lives in Troy, Mont.
“I love Bonners Ferry, it reminds me so much of the small community that I grew up in,” said Bateman.
Bateman and her husband began to meet community members during the first four years of living in Bonners Ferry while working at Mugsy’s Tavern and Grill.
She has been a photographer for about 30 years, and has always been intrigued by the news business, as it had the potential to take her photography a new and different direction. After graduating from the Northwest College of Art, she dedicated herself full time to her photography and some graphic design.
“I have been many things in my life, but mostly dedicated to my photography business, professional artist, and a horse riding instructor/trainer/breeder,” said Bateman.
In addition to photography, Bateman has been a sculptor. Focusing her time and energy in teaching herself the in’s and out’s of sculpting, her work exceeded expectations.
“I had always loved sculpture, but did not learn it in college, so I set about teaching myself, specializing in equine sculpture,” said Bateman. “I grew through the ranks, with many of my original and limited editions selling around the world, and garnering awards in both national and international competitions.”
In addition to her many talents, Bateman has always enjoyed writing.
“I have always been a writer, having completed two novels in the past, and I truly enjoy it,” said Bateman. “Writing for the paper has been a welcoming challenge, encouraging me to learn and grow as a writer.”
Northern Idaho Regional Publisher Larry Riley said of Bateman, “We quickly discovered Mandi was as talented behind a keyboard as she was behind a camera lens. Her gifted way of telling a story combined with a very strong work ethic makes for an excellent reporter, photographer and now editor, following her promotion last year.”
With the promotion from Reporter to Editor in May 2017, Bateman had to quickly learn the ropes, but with her quick wits and upbeat attitude, she pulled through the long hours with a smile.
“I know the community is as happy as we are with Mandi leading the way,” said Riley. “In the industry, we talk about having balance and finding a ‘nose for news.’ Mandi has this covered, having developed key relationships within the community to cover the hard news, while finding special ‘stories of community interest’ that make the news-pages come alive.”
Another relatively new addition to the Hagadone team is Alsy Brinkmeyer, the advertising director and general manager for the Bonner County Daily Bee, Bonners Ferry Herald, and Priest River Times.
“As the editor of the Herald, Mandi holds a key role within our team,” said Brinkmeyer. “She is responsible for creating and executing our editorial content strategy each week. She is calm under pressure and rises to the occasion every time. No one is more committed to covering the news in Boundary County than Mandi. She is truly invested in telling the stories within our community.”
Her bright light has shone around Boundary County, both in and out of the Bonners Ferry Herald office, and her love for the community shows with every article.
“I absolutely love my job, and the amazing team, both here in Bonners and outside of it,” said Bateman. “This community stole my heart from the very beginning, when my husband and I were struggling to heat our little rented cabin. People who barely knew us, offered to help, from bringing chainsaws to cut up wood, lending their services to haul wood, or sneaking extra wood onto the trailer for us.”
With the importance of her work, she not only makes sure that the community is informed, but she makes sure to be respectful and professional in her encounters with community members.
Her experience as a small business owner of the Rednek Pig BBQ with her husband Ken Bateman, has brought her to understand the importance of newspaper coverage for local businesses, especially those that are new. With her motto, “there is no such thing as a small story, because every story is important to someone,” Bateman strives to bring out the best in every story.
From respecting law enforcement and first responders at the scene of an accident, to making sure community events are showcased, Bateman shows that her love for the community leads her to make the decisions she needs to in order to bring the news to the Boundary County community in the best light for all to see, at the same time, remaining unbiased and always striving to tell the true story of any situation.