Here’s hoping… for aggressive journalism

Here's hoping...

My hope for 2008 is that the Star Tribune stops going insane.

When people tell me they’ve canceled their subscriptions because of the paper’s buyouts or suburban shift, I completely understand, although I won’t add my name to their ranks. Even in a diminished state, the Strib is still worth the price of a soy latte a week; it remains the area’s dominant news source, and nearly every other media outlet (including the Strib-hating ones) plays off what their reporters produce.

For all the demerits, half of Editor Nancy Barnes’ paradigm is right: beefing up investigative and enterprise reporting, the sort of applecart-tipping that declined during the Anders Gyllenhaal era. The problem is that beats have expanded, at least geographically, while the staff has shrunk. Survivors with historical knowledge of important issues have found themselves in unfamiliar new haunts, spread wider and thinner. The deep danger is the undertow that threatens to suck the legs out of Barnes’ impact journalism: persistent holes carry reportorial enterprise back into the daily wash.

I’ve long since given up asking the public to feel sorry for journalists, but this isn’t the goldbricking deadwood talking. These are talented folks who genuinely mourn their comrades, yet hope a focused, kick-ass paper will help rationalize the carnage. They deserve an unwavering focus on higher aspirations and a realistic appraisal of what’s possible. I wish them (and similarly situated Pioneer Press colleagues) a year of work instead of workplace drama, which would also be a gift to faithful readers and the fallen-away who get the good work free or secondhand.

Comments (2)

  1. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 12/27/2007 - 04:37 pm.

    In case you hadn’t noticed David, the Strib’s circulation numbers have been in the tank for years; pandering to the soy latte crowd in uptown won’t pay the bills in our “purple” state any longer.

    One cannot help but conclude that your angst, and that of the Strib alumni that have landed here, has more to do with the fact that it appears the DFL is going to have to actually start paying for it’s advertising space and more importantly to identify it’s ads for what they are than of any loss of aggressiveness.

  2. Anonymous Submitted by Anonymous on 12/30/2007 - 07:52 pm.

    Maybe it the Star would quit catering to the latte’ crowd, circulation might actually increase. I might even stop boycotting their advertisers.

    But there is only one conservative employed at the Star (Katherine), but that is one more than the Star cast-offs assembled here.

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