Best Local Blog (2011)

The Adventures of Johnny Northside

John Hoff's personal crusade to rid north Minneapolis of crime, corruption, and general malfeasance isn't everyone's idea of a good time, especially when he's breathing down your neck while posting criminal complaints and rap sheets, incriminating government documents, and photographs that document shady dealings, crummy storefronts, and other assorted bad news. He's the kind of guy who sees cops arresting someone in his neighborhood, parks his car, walks right up, and asks, "What's going on?" Then, instead of just telling a friend about what happened over a beer, he opens his laptop, types up his story, hits publish, and tells the whole world. And that's what makes his blog so great. It's a rip-roaring scandal sheet and bullhorn, and citizen journalist Hoff glories in its victories. Sometimes, in fact, his victory laps get him in trouble. Not long ago he got slapped with a $60,000 fine when he linked community activist Jerry Moore to a fraudulent mortgage deal and cost Moore a position at the University of Minnesota. First Amendment experts were stunned by the verdict because the judge in the case said Hoff had published nothing untrue about Moore. And any of Hoff's foes hoping the fine would shut him up must have been sorely disappointed. Within a few days he was back to business as usual. One recent headline: "Police Action at 26th and Knox in North Minneapolis: Suspected Drugs, Gun, and a Five-Year-Old Boy Named "Tre" Along for the Ride." Tell it, Mr. Hoff. Tell it!


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