Defensive Zone

Dear Strib readers:

Let me begin by saying that it's good to know my previous pleas for reader responses have not gone unheeded. I asked for feedback, and you came through like disgruntled champions. On Sunday, I returned home to find my voicemail flooded with calls from irate readers. It appears many of you are upset with our decision to divide the Twin Cities metro area into four zones. (As Strib editor Nancy Barnes announced on October 7, the four zones will bolster our coverage of outlying suburbs.)

Some of you bemoaned our decision as a calculated attempt to pander to more affluent markets, thereby increasing our revenue. Others speculated that the move would turn attention away from concerns of the inner city and poorer neighborhoods.

Many of you also complained that the increased coverage of levy referendums in the Westonka school district might translate to less national and international news coverage. Well, you’re factually right, but your interpretation needs a little fine-tuning.

"It is true that we put such news on the front page less often than we did 10 years ago," Barnes explained in her October 7 announcement. "But that's because we think readers have seen and heard it lots of other places in the era of 24-hour news."

Barnes is right. The 24-hour news era has indeed wrought a Golden Age to mass media: the fare offered by countless newschannels clearly produces the most comprehensive and in-depth soundbites any citizen-consumer could ask for.

As for us, we promise to bring you the kind community-based journalism that our advertisers crave. Take our recent story in the Twin Cities West section about the Eden Prairie city council reducing the rent in a historic building to keep a popular-yet-struggling Dunn Bros. coffee shop from going under. The headline says it all: "Bean Counting."