Off Beat

The Secret Lives of Strib Columnists, Take 1

EVIDENTLY STAR TRIBUNE columnist Sid Hartman hasn't been reading Miss Manners. In the wake of the Strib's pummeling at the hands of the Saint Paul Pioneer Press on the Gophers story, Hartman recently lamented on his weekly WCCO (830 AM) sports talk show that reporters at the Newspaper of the Twin Cities are more interested in working on long projects than in covering day-to-day news. A few days later, Hartman was moved to post a message on the Strib's electronic bulletin board, apologizing to the entire newsroom. "I was asked a question about the Gophers NCAA investigation. I made a very poor judgment in voicing my opinion by criticizing reporting techniques at this newspaper," he wrote. "I have some personal thoughts and I hope I have learned to keep my thoughts to myself." Hartman then went on to profess his undying love for the paper's editor, whom he'd mentioned by name during his 'CCO rant: "I have the utmost respect for Tim McGuire. My comments reflected poorly on him and unfairly embarrassed him. I have said many times that in my 54 years as a reporter, he is the best editor I have ever worked for." The apology did spur some newsroom chatter, most of it regarding the fact that while Hartman had expressed his dim view of the state of modern reporting before, the difference this time was that Strib publisher John Schueler was listening to the broadcast. "[Schueler] asked me why Sid was angry with us," McGuire confirms. "But he didn't express anger at Sid. He was wondering why Sid was so negative. He was not really involved beyond asking me about it." The editor says he told Hartman that his comments "had crossed the line" but adds that the mea culpa was entirely unsolicited. "The apology was his idea," McGuire says. "I never even hinted at it. I thought it was quite a classy thing to do." Hartman just wants to put the matter behind him. "I misspoke on the radio and I apologized for it," he says.

The Secret Lives of Strib Columnists, Take 2

AND THEN THERE was the saga of C.J. Perhaps you, like Off Beat, were drawn to the bizarre "Editor's note" in your Tuesday morning Strib. Seems a "Star Tribune inquiry" had confirmed "allegations" that the paper's gossip columnist had thrown a glass of water at a local photographer. "The matter has been dealt with firmly," editor Tim McGuire concluded. "C.J. and I have both sent our sincere apologies to the photographer." The incident was the subject of a May 9 Pi Press item, which was accompanied by a photo depicting C.J. in the act of emptying her goblet at an unseen photographer during a University of Minnesota women's athletic department fundraiser at the Mall of America. "It was like I was on the log flume or something," the shooter, Eric Miller, tells Off Beat. "Afterward she said, 'I'm sorry, but I told you not to take my picture.'" Could this be the same C.J. who has scribbled countless finger-wagging tidbits about fellow local media muckamucks who engaged in episodes of public rudeness? "I'm sure that my detractors will be delighted, while my nondetractors will view this just another entertaining part of my personality," comments the gossip writer. "Tim McGuire was not entertained by what I did. I took a stand, and now I'll take my medicine." But just what did McGuire mean about dealing with the matter "firmly"? Has C.J. been sent to her room without any
gingerbread? Or was a paddling administered? We may never know. When we'd asked McGuire about the matter on Friday, before the Strib published the results of its "inquiry," he'd said he was "looking into the matter" and urged us to get back to him Tuesday. When we did he had a flack call back to say there'd be no further comment.


At Off Beat our motto is "Staying informed so you don't have to." Call (612) 372-3788 or send an e-mail to [email protected] with any poop that's fit to print.

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