Beat reporting is a difficult job. To do it well you've got to report on the shortcomings and shenanigans of people in power—and then show up the next day to face their wrath. There's also the risk of tedium. How many insignificant zoning hearings and City Council meetings must you suffer through just to turn up one journalistic nugget? Nobody covers his beat better than St. Paul City Hall reporter Tim Nelson. Even after more than five years on the municipal beat, his reporting continues to display an insatiable curiosity about the inner workings of the Capitol City. Both in the print edition and at his excellent City Hall Scoop blog (blogs.twincities.com/cityhallscoop), Nelson consistently provides the most detailed, intelligent coverage in town. Whether analyzing voter turnout in the mayoral primary or dishing on Mayor Chris Coleman's harassment at the legendary Mancini's Char House & Lounge because of his support for the smoking ban, he's made the Pi Press the indispensable source for St. Paul political news. In a year that saw incumbent Mayor Randy Kelly take a historic thumping at the polls, Nelson certainly had plenty to write about.