North Dakota News Cooperative

Co-op hires journalist to serve state

North Dakota News Cooperative
North Dakota News Cooperative recently hired an enterprise reporter to lead our reporting efforts. After July 15, Michael Standeart will provide in-depth stories designed to engage readers and build readership of informative, reliable sources. (Photo by Tuomas Harjumaaskola, a Finnish photographer working in China.)

North Dakota News Cooperative took another big step recently.

Michael Standaert was hired as Enterprise Journalist to provide in-depth stories to North Dakota newspapers.

“Michael will hit the ground running. Although he will need to acclimate to North Dakota, he already has story ideas and recently worked with one of the state's newspapers on a story,” said Jill Denning Gackle, co-chair with Steve Andrist. “His world experience will serve North Dakota well and give us the in-depth reporting that we are seeking.”

Standaert worked as a journalist and writer for 24 years, first from the Midwest, and later from California, Europe and Asia. From early 2007 to mid-2022 he was based in China, first Beijing, then Shenzhen, where he served as a correspondent accredited with Bloomberg Industry Group from 2009 onward.

From China he also freelanced for a wide range of outlets including The Washington Post, The Guardian, Al Jazeera, MIT Technology Review, YaleEnvironment360 and others throughout China and into Southeast Asia. He has an MA in journalism from Cardiff University, UK, and published one book of nonfiction as well as a novel.

Originally from Northwest Illinois, Michael said he looks forward to getting back to the Midwest and to gaining a deep understanding of North Dakota, its issues and people, as well as raising his young family here.

NDNC considered about 20 applicants since the position was advertised in late 2021.

Denning Gackle said, “The process took us longer than we'd hoped but we didn't want to rush such an important decision. We wanted to get it right, which we feel we did.”

Board Member Eric Hardmeyer said, “ Michael was an exciting candidate for the position, he has an extensive background in journalism with global experience. He will bring a fresh perspective to issues critical to North Dakotans.” Also on the board are Tom Gerhardt, Hal Gershman, Mary Jo Hotzler, Mike Jacobs, Cynthia Lindquist and Cecile Wehrman.

Standaert and his wife, Jing, and two children plan to move to Bismarck in June. Following the interview May 4, they spent several days touring all four corners of North Dakota.

The North Dakota News Cooperative is a nonprofit news organization providing reliable and independent reporting on issues and events that impact the lives of North Dakotans. The organization increases the public’s access to quality journalism and advances news literacy across the state. For more information about NDNC or to make a charitable contribution, please visit Send comments, suggestions or tips to Follow us on Twitter: