Does Nick Coleman have a future at the Strib? No one knows


Star Tribune editors have been notably silent about the disappearance of long-time columnist Nick Coleman from their news pages. While it was clear during buyout season last year that Coleman and Katherine Kersten would no longer write columns, only the media-obsessed would have known that he was being reassigned.

MinnPost's David Brauer reported on a Coleman deal with the Opinion/Exchange side of the paper, but Coleman quickly refuted the report. Does anyone actually know what's going on?

Here is what Brauer reported this morning:
According to colleagues, Nick said his newsroom good-byes Friday. Rather than shuffle off to the Variety section, where he was reassigned, Coleman accepted the paper's buyout. Included in the deal is a weekly freelance column in the paper's OpEx section.
Coleman responded to Brauer, refuting his reports. Brauer posted the following update on his story:
Just after publishing, I got an email from Nick saying "I have not signed the op-ex agreement and you are way premature. And wrong." Can't get him to say what I'm wrong about besides the signature, but consider this a correction on that. I trust my sources on the newsroom goodbye.
Minneapolis-St. Paul magazine's Brian Lambert has also been following the disappearance of Coleman's column with a recurring "Where's Nick" piece.

He picked up on Brauer's report, but suspects some of the contract claims are probably false.

It just isn't quite accurate to say the deal has been sealed.

Talk about Coleman hanging around as an occasional contributor to the Op-Ed page strikes me as laughable. For all the neutering Coleman's metro columns took from Avista Capital Partners' editors, three swipes of the Op-Ed page's de-flavorizing machinery would have him sounding like Erma Bombeck. Moreover, I, uh, strongly suspect compensation for bi-weekly or monthly Op-Ed work would fall juuuuussssst a bit short of paying for two coffees and a tip.

Put simply, it is a flagrant insult to Nick Coleman that a company that has enjoyed the benefits of the often intense reader interaction his column's have produced to A. Yank him from the job for no stated reason, and B. Make no public mention of its decision, as though his departure could and should be ignored. But sadly that sort of misanthropic callousness is no longer surprising coming from the Avista Capital Partners Star Tribune, an absentee investment company with no long term commitment to the Twin Cities other than getting out of town before losing any more than $450 million.

We put in a phone call to Coleman, but haven't received a response to help clarify his statement to Brauer. If we get anything new, we will post it.