Pi-Press names @PolAnimal replacement

Hot on the heels of Hart Van Denburg's deep-dive look at the thorny issues created by the departure of Rachel Stassen-Berger from the Twitter identity she'd long been associated with, a story that drew the eyes of journalists nationwide when it was prominently posted on popular industry gossip site Romenesko, the Pioneer Press has named her replacement: Jason Hoppin.

Hoppin seemed a bit shell-shocked when I reached him on his cell phone, and it's clear he recognizes the enormity of his challenge.

"I think I have some very big high heels to fill," Hoppin quipped of his predecessor, the highly regarded Stassen-Berger, who was lured away by cross-river rival the Star Tribune. "We're gonna try to do a lot of things Rachel initiated. Break news, that's always our goal."

Hoppin said the position was internally posted and that he applied for it, though he did not say how many other Pi-Pressers competed for the job. As for when he'll start Tweeting, "That's a little up in the air right now," Hoppin says. "Sooner rather than later, let's put it that way."

As usual, David Brauer at MinnPost is the first to post the leaked memo:

Jason came to the Pioneer Press in November 2004, as a north suburbs reporter. In September 2005, Jason moved to St. Paul city hall. Prior to coming to the Pioneer Press, he'd done seven years of daily journalism in California.

To his new job, Jason brings a dogged approach to reporting combined with a vibrant writing style. He also has shown a particular facility for breaking news on a day-to-day basis while he continues working on longer-term efforts that turn into high-impact enterprise.

Over the past couple years, Jason's work has been marked by leading the way for us in the aftermath of the 35W bridge collapse -- including stories identifying a too-thin gusset plate as a primary cause, a finding later upheld by federal investigators. Jason also was a key participant in the Coleman-Franken election coverage. And along the way contributed numerous 1A and 1B stories on a multitude of issues.