Magazine article Editor & Publisher

MinnPost, New Online Venture, Ready to Crash Twin Cities Media Scene

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

MinnPost, New Online Venture, Ready to Crash Twin Cities Media Scene

Article excerpt

There is a lot of excitement surrounding the news that former Minneapolis Star Tribune Publisher Joel Kramer is launching MinnPost, an online, and he hopes, go-to place for local coverage of the Twin Cities. Considering the Star Tribune and rival St. Paul Pioneer Press - and scores of papers like them -- keep hacking away at staff and coverage, it must be comforting to know if you're a journalist in the area there is a potential outlet for more work. The announcement heralding the coming debut of MinnPost listed 25 reporters and columnists who agreed to file posts and stories to the new site. They aren't greenhorns. MinnPost draws upon seasoned journalists who once worked for the Star Tribune and Pi-Press. They come from the City Pages, and from Minneapolis Public Radio, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, and metros like The Hartford Courant and The Boston Globe. MinnPost, as Kramer and his managing editor Roger Buoen told E&P, is not on a quixotic mission to unseat the Star Trib or the Pi-Press in breath of coverage, despite the impressive team line-up. They see an opportunity to give readers a handful of original stories -- presumably not found in the dailies -- and some eight to 10 posts regarding local issues. A Twin Cities version of Slate or Salon. "I think it's going to be a second-read kind of site," explained Buoen. "We are assuming our readers know a lot already and we are going to try and appeal to readers who are intensely interested in the news." MinnPost plans to operate as a nonprofit, using about $1 million in funds provided mostly from the very families whose names and money are attached to traditional dailies, as well a sponsorships and advertising to keep the site up and running. But as Mark Potts, who is otherwise gung-ho on the idea, wrote in his blog, the business strategy of MinnPost got lost in the announcement made last week. Not one person on the list of 25 is from the business side though Kramer said he is looking to hire some people to help suss out sponsors and ad revenue. Connected to that, the excitement of the online site overshadows another detail that must be creeping into the minds of mid-career reporters everywhere: The journalists who signed up to contribute to the operation are getting Ramen-worthy payments, compared to their metro salaries. For their efforts, a contributor to MinnPost will receive about $100 a pop per post and somewhere around $500 to $600 per story. …

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