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Marcotty to replace Meersman as Star Tribune environmental reporter

The Star Tribune has turned to a very experienced health reporter to replace its very experienced environmental reporter.

Josephine Marcotty, who has been a main player on the health beat since 1999, will replace Tom Meersman, who was reassigned to a west-metro beat last month.

Journalism-watchers and environmental advocates were, to put it mildly, concerned when Meersman was moved, but Marcotty is a reassuring choice. She's tough-minded and a pro digger — and having a reporter with years of health-beat knowledge is a huge leg up for covering the environment. She'll also keep working for her current editor, Dave Hage.

It remains to be seen how well Marcotty will be at the 21st-century hamster wheel of, as the job description put it, "creating environmental coverage for print, online, social media and digital platforms, employing video, Twitter and blogs to build a broad public understanding and conversation on one of the central issues of our time."

She hasn't tweeted since June 14 (thanks for the retweet!) and her "Body Talk" blog apparently no longer exists. But frankly, she has more important skills.

This does raise the question of how well the Strib will cover health issues now. Maura Lerner and Warren Wolfe remain on the team, and gained a new teammate of sorts this summer when the Strib swiped PiPress health guy Jeremy Olson.

However, it's important to note that Olson's beat is "children and families," not strictly health. The Strib has a number of general assignment and investigative reporters available, but they're stretched too, so the coming months will bear watching.

Interestingly, Olson and Marcotty were tangled up an incident involving this summer's nursing strike. A nurse's union spokesman alleged Marcotty crashed a closed union meeting while specifically praising Olson. Marcotty said she identified herself, and union spokesman later apologized for his outburst. If Marcotty spreads that aggressiveness around on her new beat, readers concerned about the environment will be well-served.

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Comments (2)

When I heard about Meersman's reassignment, I was disappointed and surprised, especially because he wasn't the one who requested the reassignment.

What is the Strib thinking?

I'd love to get the real story behind this story.

Meersman was a uniquely unapologetic environmental reporter. Whenever I saw his byline, I knew the coverage would be sober and contextual.

This reassignment sounds like a demotion.

I agree, Meersman is a terrific reporter and did an excellent job, but maybe it wouldn't be a bad idea if all beats were shaken up once in a while. Every area of reporting can be enhanced by a change of perspective. I'm speaking in general, not specifically of Tom; I have the highest regard for him.