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Note to readers: MinnPost.com expands coverage

Kathryn Pearson
Kathryn Pearson

Beginning this week, MinnPost.com will expand its coverage of politics, arts, business and sports by adding several new journalists and features.
 
Kathryn Pearson and Blois Olson are joining MinnPost.com to report on and analyze state and national politics.

Kathryn, a political scientist at the University of Minnesota, specializes in American politics and Congress. She has written extensively about the state and national political scene, and has appeared on Minnesota Public Radio and "NewsHour with Jim Lehrer."

Blois has been a contributor to online political coverage and commentary in Minnesota for years. After working on several campaigns, he cofounded MN-Politics.com, a leading online source for Minnesota political information. He's now an executive vice president at Tunheim Partners, a communications firm in Bloomington.

Blois Olson
Blois Olson

The addition of Kathryn and Blois is part of an effort to expand our political coverage. The national political conventions are just weeks away, and MinnPost.com journalists will be reporting from the Democratic gathering in Denver next month and Republican convention in St. Paul Sept. 1-4.  We're also making ambitious plans to cover this fall's campaigns in Minnesota.

But as regular readers know, there's a lot more to MinnPost.com than political reporting.

Jim Walsh
Jim Walsh

More music coverage
We'll be expanding our music coverage with the addition of regularly anchored posts by Jim Walsh and Britt Robson.

Jim is a frequent MinnPost.com contributor who's been posting missives from his "Mad Ripple Hootenanny" in New York the past few days. A longtime Twin Cities musician, editor and writer, he is the author of "The Replacements: All Over but the Shouting." Look for his "Monday Morning Playback" post each week; in it he'll touch on music he's hearing on the air, in clubs and on CDs and either loved or loathed.

Britt Robson
Britt Robson

Britt will conduct interviews and showcase a wide variety of music each Tuesday and Friday, beginning Aug. 5. Britt has written knowledgably about every kind of music from opera to punk to hip-hop, and his music posts will be a habitual read for people who want to know what is going on in town.

We're also expanding our business coverage, introducing a lively weekly feature by John Reinan that taps into the thoughts of some of the leading marketing thinkers and practitioners in the Twin Cities. John will delve into the dramatic changes caused by new media, changes that affect businesses, consumers and careers throughout Minnesota.

John Reinan
John Reinan

John is well-connected in the Twin Cities marketing world and is a senior director at the Minneapolis marketing agency Fast Horse. A three-time Pulitzer Prize nominee, John has reported for seven newspapers, including three years as consumer/marketing reporter at the Star Tribune. Check out his first post, which appears today.

MinnPost will be doing more with sports as well.

Jay Weiner
Jay Weiner

Next month, for coverage of the Olympic Games, our man in Beijing will be Jay Weiner. Jay has covered every Winter and Summer Olympics since 1984. He'll use that experience to offer perspective on the 16 days and 17 nights of Olympic competition and pageantry. Jay will not only chronicle the efforts of Olympians with Minnesota ties but also cover some of the social, cultural and political controversies facing China as it takes its turn in the international spotlight. Look for stories, posts, photos, podcasts and more throughout the Games.

Additional changes

Careful MinnPost readers will also notice some other changes on the site.

We've launched a new Comments presentation that makes it easier for readers to view comments and to post comments. And we've added an easier way for readers to use social networking sites to share content on MinnPost.com.

Beginning today, we're dropping the MinnPost in Print feature. Readers will continue to be able to print stories from the site. But as more and more of you are reading MinnPost online, we found too few readers were using MinnPost in Print to justify continuing putting together a printable summary of the site.

Finally, humor writer Al Sicherman will be taking on a new role. We're discontinuing "Verse or Worse," and have asked Al to offer his unique take on events and news developments in town from time to time.

MinnPost is less than a year old, and we've received many valuable suggestions from our readers since we launched in November. We will continue to make changes on the site and add enhancements to meet your needs for information and analysis. Even now we're planning significant improvements in our content and presentation that you'll be hearing more about in the coming months.

In the meantime, I'm pleased to report that reader interest in MinnPost.com keeps growing.  We had more than 125,000 unique monthly visitors last month, as measured by Google Analytics, an increase of more than 10 percent from the previous month.  We now have 932 members, people who have decided to support financially the nonprofit journalism that MinnPost.com provides.

I'd like to hear your thoughts about how MinnPost.com is doing. Feel free to add your comment at the end of this article, or if you prefer to communicate privately, email me at jkramer [at] minnpost [dot] com.

Joel Kramer is CEO and editor of MinnPost.

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Comments (8)

Mark,

Glad to see you're rooting for MinnPost, and offering constructive criticism. Re our traffic, I once told you that I have a long-term target of 100,000 visitors a day. We're only 9 months old, and if we keep up our current rate of growth, we could hit that target in a few years -- which is when we expect our nonprofit enterprise to be breaking even based on sponsorship, advertising and membership revenue.

I agree with you about the importance of archive and search, and we're working to improve both, as well as the breadth and depth of our coverage and analysis. So stay tuned.

I'm disappointed you don't have more readers Joel. I was secretly hoping you "got" the Internet in ways I didn't fathom, and that you would build that six-figure audience you were aiming at. I guess I didn't realize your six-figure goal was monthly, not daily.

I still think the greatest value you have to your readers is as an archive. So long as the daily newspapers idiotically lock up their old content behind firewalls, publications like MinnPost and MnIndy will be the Google winners. So let me make this suggestion just one more time: put together web archives with links and excerpts from ALL the stories about the I-35 bridge collapse. Aggregation isn't just posting, it has enormous historical value.

That would be a great start, but there are many other stories that deserve to be archived as well. Simply creating a better news aggregator for all things Minnesotan would be a herculean but sorely needed project.

And, speaking solely as yet another backbiting blogger-critic, ditch the commentary. Most of it is fatuous, and insufficiently fact-based. If it's too hard to fill MinnPost with original reporting, fall back on more aggregation (The Daily Glean), and more fact-based analysis (Eric Black, etc.).

You're still here, and that's a good thing. Now I think you need to draft some new goals and objectives based on the realities you've encountered.

Thanks for the update Joel. I look forward to the changes (though I admit I have been a fan of Verse or Worse). Happy almost first birthday! I love MinnPost!

Sally, this is a tough time for professional journalists, because most of the enterprises that pay their salaries are shrinking. But I'm hopeful that another generation will succeed in the field, because society and democracy need good journalism.

MinnPost does provide Minnesotans a chance to keep reading great journalists they know, who have left traditional media. But we also feature younger writers like Dan Haugen, Christina Capecchi, Brian Voerding, Amy Goetzman, and Christy DeSmith. This fall we'll be working with a journalism class at the University of Minnesota.

I hope Doug Grow and his contemporaries don't retire any time soon, but when they do, MinnPost will be in good hands.

Joel,

I commend you and your team at MinnPost for such an impressive 9 months of operation. I have come to rely heavily on MinnPost on the story behind the story in politics and public policy issues as well as to keep abreast of the music and arts scene.

The combination of video, audio and written word in your stories provides the audience with an experience that is not as readily available in other media outlets. Indeed, your leadership is forcing positive changes at our two local daily papers.

For me, the Postville coverage exhibits the power of this medium and MinnPost's ability to provide the reader with an objective experience of the situation. Our understanding of the issues and our engagement and concern about them are augmented greatly. It provides an in-depth objective look that is not available anywhere else.

Thank you for your leadership and that of your talented team for bringing this incredible vehicle to our community. I look forward to your continued enhancements. You truly are creating a national model.

Lyn said she liked "Verse or Worse." I didn't. But then I didn't like what Mr. Sicherman wrote when he worked for the Star Tribune. Overall, MinnPost is doing a very good job. Keep it up!

My niece was considering a career in journalism, but has put that on hold for now. She said there is 'no future' in newspapers, television or radio.

What exactly are you doing to get young people interested in a career in journalism? You are taking advantage of the old model, but what happens when all the old journalists from WCCO TV, Star Tribune and Pioneer Press retire?

Sorry to interrupt this love fest, but as best I can discern, this chronicle is a complete reprise of the Star Tribune, replete with Strib refugees and DFL operatives, Blois Olson being the newest. The content is undifferentiated from anything one might read in the Strib itself.

Further, I fail to see the viability in this "business model." Where does the monetization of the content occur?

As long as wealthy elites have disposable $ for their amusement, perhaps supported by government grants, we'll have MinnPost.