There is a gaping hole in Star Tribune editor Nancy Barnes' big op-ed page announcement on Sunday that she's giving local weather legend Paul Douglas a full-time gig: She never mentions that in bringing Douglas aboard, she has essentially stolen him away from an online competitor, MinnPost.
In fact, she never mentions MinnPost at all, despite the fact that after WCCO gave Douglas the heave-ho last April in a budget cutting move, MinnPost snapped him up within a few weeks to cover weather in a daily column through a deal with Conservation Minnesota. It was a big win for the fledgling non-profit news Web site, which, since its launch in 2007, has been able to leverage the talents of a number of well-known Twin Cities journalists made jobless by the recession and upheavals in the news business. True, Douglas was not on staff at MinnPost, but he had a branded column. Doesn't that warrant a mention?
Barnes never mentions any of that:
We've had a terrific partnership with WCCO over the last year, and I want to personally thank its leadership team for all the effort they have put into delivering our weather news for us. Beginning this week, however, we are developing our own weather strategy, and we are starting by bringing back a familiar face to our readers.Joel Kramer, MinnPost's publisher -- and a former Star Tribune publisher -- told his readers about losing Douglas in a column posted last night:
Paul Douglas, former local TV meteorologist and Star Tribune columnist, is returning to the weather page. In addition to writing a column, Paul will be blogging on our website, producing multiple weather videos daily, and working with his company, WeatherNation, to bring readers the most up-to-date interactive technology and tools to track weather in a very personal way.
He has signed a deal to appear in the Star Tribune newspaper and on startribune.com. The deal, as he explained it to me, allows him to continue to appear on Conservation Minnesota's weather page, but specifically precludes his appearing on MinnPost.Sure, business is business, but Barnes couldn't bring herself to mention MinnPost?
Paul has not only been an asset to our site, but he personally has been a strong supporter of MinnPost, including a financial supporter. But business is business. The Star Tribune deal will help move Paul's new firm, WeatherNation, toward profitability. I told Paul that I hope WeatherNation makes a lot of money and that he donates a bunch of it to MinnPost.
What about Douglas? He, too, makes no mention of MinnPost in his first blog post for the Strib this morning.
With regards to WeatherNation: When Douglas left WCCO last year, a lot of people were surprised to learn that he was a hugely successful entrepreneur. In 1997 he sold a 3-D earth-modeling system he developed for $3 million, and pocketed a cool $22 million for Digital Cyclone, a service that sends weather warnings to mobile devices. WeatherNation creates and distributes forecasts and other products to Web sites, cable and broadcast TV stations.