Each year, Forum Newspapers makes its selection for the ‘Person of the Year’ in the northwestern Minnesota region. This year, they selected David Berg, President and CEO of American Crystal Sugar.
On the surface, selecting the leader of one of the region’s most influential businesses terribly controversial. However, Berg happens to be the man at the center of a months-long stalemate between his company and 1,300 locked out workers at American Crystal Sugar plants.
Reaction came quickly. KVLY-TV talked to union members, who said they were angry, hurt, and confused by the selection.
Forum Editor, Matt Von Pinnon, wrote an article separate from the selection piece that explains how the paper selects the ‘Person of the Year.’ He notes:
Berg was also chosen because the themes in the local dispute mirror themes seen throughout the country and world this past year: unions and their workers fighting to retain bargaining power and low- and middle-class workers rising up to challenge what they see as a growing disparity between the rich and the poor.
Much like Time magazine’s annual Person of the Year, The Forum’s selection is not intended to glorify or demonize anyone or any position. It is simply marking a moment in time by designating a person who most exemplifies that period or its happenings.
What do you think? Did the paper make the right selection?