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Strib, citing need for investment, favors 'cross-ownership'

The Strib’s editorial page is now in favor of “cross-ownership,” allowing the same big firm to own both TV and a newspaper in the same market: “If approved, new FCC rules would generally allow cross-ownership of newspapers and TV stations in the top 20 markets, assuming that the TV station is not one of the top four in a market and that eight "major media voices" would remain after a transaction. The current regulatory framework would be maintained for smaller markets. In addition to those changes, the new rules would generally allow cross-ownership of newspapers and radio stations regardless of the size of the market. The proposals reflect the evolving media landscape. In fact, the proposed changes, while welcome, do not go far enough to ensure the vitality of local news organizations that are essential to democracy. The FCC should allow even top-four TV stations to combine with newspapers. … In order to continue to invest in covering the communities they serve, for-profit media companies need to attract investment. Allowing more cross-media ownership would increase the number of potential investors in quality journalism.” So, just so I’m clear, these potential investors — private equity types — are primarily interested in “quality journalism,” or ROI?

The state's death toll this flu season has hit 60. At the PiPress, Christopher Snowbeck writes: “As Minnesota continues to see more deaths and hospitalizations due to influenza, health officials say they can't yet tell whether the state's flu season already might have peaked. A weekly release by the Minnesota Department of Health on Thursday, Jan. 17, confirmed 33 more deaths related to influenza, bringing the statewide tally for the current flu season to 60. Similarly, the latest report showed a jump of 476 in the number of flu-related hospitalizations in the state, bringing the total since Oct. 1 to 1,842.”

Dear Abby has died. The AP’s Steve Karnowski says: “Pauline Friedman Phillips, who under the name of Abigail Van Buren, wrote the long-running "Dear Abby" advice column that was followed by millions of newspaper readers throughout the world, has died. She was 94 and had been living in Minnetonka near family. Publicist Gene Willis of Universal Uclick said Phillips died Wednesday after a long battle with Alzheimer's disease. Phillips' column competed for decades with the advice column of Ann Landers, written by her twin sister, Esther Friedman Lederer. Their relationship was stormy in their early adult years, but later they regained the close relationship they had growing up in Sioux City, Iowa.” I’m not certain, but I believe those nice ladies were the models for the local editorial pages.

Peavey Plaza has made the Register of Historic Places. MPR’s story, by Curtis Gilbert, says: “The federal government has listed Peavey Plaza in Minneapolis on the National Register of Historic Places. The move comes as the city and historic preservationists battle in court over the future of the site. The Minneapolis City Council voted last year to demolish Peavey Plaza, arguing it was obsolete, inaccessible and conducive to crime. The Washington D.C.-based Cultural Landscape Foundation is suing to block the demolition.”

Now, these guys probably will get a gun, no matter what … Tim Pugmire of MPR says: “Legislation introduced today in the Minnesota Senate would prevent some convicted felons from owning guns after they've served their sentence. The measure would eliminate the right of violent felons to petition the court to have their ability to possess a firearm restored. Sen. Barb Goodwin, DFL-Columbia Heights, said her bill would target people who've used a gun to commit a violent crime. Goodwin said she also wants to move the job of restoring a person's gun rights from judges to the state Board of Pardons. … Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen, R-Alexandria, said he thinks the bill is a solution in search of a problem. ‘If it's gun control they're looking for here, I'm not sure what she's trying to do,’ Ingebrigtsen said. ‘But obviously because of the shootings, that's become kind of on the front burner around here. I think it's going to do absolutely nothing.' "

Did you ask for more on the guy accused of killing and cutting up his wife? Emily Gurnon of the PiPress provides more ghoulish details: “Steven Roger Johnson, the St. Paul man charged in the shooting and dismemberment of his wife, told police that he went to Menards and bought bleach, storage tubs and a rotary saw because the saw he was using to dismember his wife was not cutting easily, search warrants filed in the case disclose. … The bins [in a garage] were sealed with tape. A White Bear Lake officer cut the tape on one of them. ‘Upon lifting the lid of the bin, (the officer) found a dark colored garbage bag that contained something,’ the affidavit said. ‘She lifted the garbage bag out with gloved hands, and upon doing so felt what she described as 'fingers' inside of the bag’. A sergeant was called to the scene. He cut a slit in the bag. The officers saw 'what appeared to be body parts.' "

A month?  Tim Harlow of the Strib reports: “A portion of Interstate 35E in the south metro will be closed for as long as a month, and traffic on I-35E and I-35 through Eagan, Burnsville and Lakeville will be reduced to a single lane this summer as part of a major resurfacing and bridge repair project that will affect 17 miles of freeway. Significant delays are expected for more than 100,000 drivers who use the roads each day when the $20 million project gets underway in May, MnDOT spokeswoman Kirsten Klein said. … The big-ticket item is a new flyover bridge that will carry motorists from southbound 35E to southbound 35. The current bridge has a crack in it and will be torn down in May. Interstate 35E will be closed from County Road 42 to its junction with Interstate 35 while the new bridge is built. That could take 30 days.” In other words, do not even think of going to Iowa.

Classy. Suzanne Ziegler of the Strib writes: “Washburn High School today canceled after-school activities, including a basketball game, because of safety concerns following an incident in which four students dangled a dark-skinned doll by its neck with a piece of string in a school stairway. The district said the four students were disciplined but it didn't say how, citing school privacy restrictions. The incident was caught on security cameras and students posted visuals of it on social media sites. … One black parent heavily involved in the school’s parent leadership refused comment. ‘There are a lot of facts that are still missing,’ said Michael DeVaughn.”

Keep it coming, kids. Jackie Crosby’s Strib story says: “Minnesota has reeled in an additional $39 million from the federal government to continue its work developing an online health insurance exchange aimed at helping individuals and small businesses buy more affordable insurance. In all, the state has received five grants worth $109.3 million in its effort to build a Minnesota-tailored marketplace where consumers can shop around for coverage starting Oct. 1.”

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Comments (2)

“Quality journalism,” or ROI?

"The proposed changes ... do not go far enough to ensure the vitality of local news organizations that are essential to democracy."

Essential to democracy by ... updating us constantly about Lindsay Lohan?

Yeah, right.

Bread and circuses, you betcha!

"A solution in search of a problem"

Kind of like voter ID, right, Senator Ingebrigtsen? We wouldn't want to waste time on nonsense like that!