Stribulations: Loose lips from disgruntled staffer

If you listen closely, you can hear all sorts of grumblings from employees at the Newspaper of the Twin Cities: The powers-that-be hired a conservative columnist with no reporting experience, the Variety section is starting to look and behave like Weekly Reader, the paper bends over backwards to not offend the sensibilites of the midde managers who work in suburban office parks, and on and on.


Most loudly, you can hear staffers and readers wonder about the fact that the paper has all but deserted Minneapolis. Rochelle Olson covers City Hall, David Chanen covers the MPD, and Steve Brandt covers Minneapolis Public Schools. Aside from that, Stribbers are usually gathering news elsewhere, far away from the state's largest city.

(As well they should, and quietly too. Word on the street is that even the venerable Patrick Reusse, the gruff-but-lovable sports columnist, has wondered aloud whether he should be seeking employment elsewhere.)

Some of the current dissatisfaction was hinted at by Brandt last week, when a thread on the e-mail forum Minneapolis Issues dealt with the swaying of the Strib toward less-journalistic endeavors. Brandt (a chronic poster to the list) tended to agree with those engaged in a typical scoldfest, concluding with this tart remark:

Steve Nelson: It seems to be turning toward tabloid spin than journalistic integrity.

Steve Brandt: Unfortunately, this is just the start.  It will get worse this fall, when the designers who think that flash is more important than words debut their product.

Steve Brandt
Kingfield/Star Tribune

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