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Steve Perry out at Minnesota Independent

[Note: There are three updates at the end of this piece]

Steve Perry, News Editor of Minnesota Independent, has resigned, according to knowledgeable sources.

This is the other shoe dropping after MnIndy's parent, Center for Independent Media, announced last month that the staff was being pared, freelance budget eliminated, and editing centralized in Washington, D.C.

Steve Perry (courtesy MnIndy)
Steve Perry (courtesy MnIndy)

Ironically, one of the laid-off staffers, Andy Birkey, will rejoin the four-person MnIndy staff to replace Perry.

CIM, a nonprofit, has been under fire locally for badgering its staff to, in the words of ex-freelancer Britt Robson, run "stories that embarrassed Republicans and promoted Democrats."

That ran counter to Perry's "pox-on-all-power" ethos honed to a knife's edge during his many years as City Pages' editor.

Under Perry, City Pages overtook the Twin Cities Reader as the top local alt-weekly; since his February hiring, MnIndy's traffic has soared, as this chart demonstrates. It was definitely a team effort — reaching a high point during the Republican National Convention — but Perry hired several members of that team.

More details to come; I've emailed Perry and MnIndy's Paul Schmelzer for comment.

Update: CIM's Robin Marty confirms, issuing this canned statement: "Steve Perry offered his resignation, which we accepted yesterday. We wish him nothing but the best going forward and are grateful for all of the assistance he gave us in establishing the Minnesota Independent."

Update II: A Perry ex-colleague asks whether Perry's Daily Mole will make a comeback. From the looks of the cute 404 message, not imminently.

Update III: Schmelzer, emailing from the heart:

"I'm disappointed. I really enjoyed working with Steve, and I'm proud of the cohesive, smart team we assembled, the quality of the news product (especially our RNC and election coverage) and the fun we had doing it.

"Given our limited resources, I think what we've done has been pretty amazing — and I give Steve a lot of credit for it. I'm still dedicated to what we do — which, despite what our critics say, is journalism.

"While Steve's departure presents a huge challenge going forward, I'm excited to have Andy back to help me, Paul [Demko] and Chris [Steller] out."

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Comments (6)

Um, MinnMon (as it was once known) was created with the clear purpose of being the left-wing echo chamber in the first place. I don't see how that was mistaken for anything else all along.

Disclosure: I have a long, long history of watching this from the sidelines and attempting to get in. Not just me, but people I know as well.

The whole thing did not go as CIM wanted right away. They are the funder, and they didn't get what they wanted. What's to be surprised about?

Erik--

Unless you think "left wing echo chamber," and "stories that embarrassed Republicans and promoted Democrats" and the mission statement of the Center for Independent Media all line up to mean the same thing, I think there is a fair amount of room for surprise, and chagrin.

BTW, why were you so interested in "getting in" to an entity that you admit you regarded as nothing more than an echo chamber?

I visit Minnesota Independent daily (that's not meant as a knock, Minn Post!). As a lefty, I want a source that covers what interests me, but is factual for good or ill. I'm not looking for an "echo chamber". That's perhaps why conservatives are reality challenged, even while it worked to move the mainstream media the way conservatives wanted. It ultimately blew up. They don't have anything like Minnesota Independent, or Mother Jones, Salon, etc., by which I mean sites that have a right-wing perspective but do actual reporting. I hope the intention with Minnesota Independent isn't to turn it into a liberal answer to Townhall.

Britt, I haven't been connected with CIM as recently as you, but your remarks to Erik make about as much sense to me as Erik's do to you.

There were/are some good people doing good work at MnIndy, and I'm glad to see that they were able to rehire one of the worker bees with the money they just freed up.

Btw, why did YOU leave?

Soros' intro into internet sock puppetry has been bungled so thoroughly, so often it's not even enjoyable, (or sporting) to mock the players any longer.

For the life of me, I can't understand why they would keep Robin "do hesitate to call" Marty on the payroll while the virtual walls continue to crumble down into ever smaller pieces around her ears; I mean just how pulverized does rubble have to get to be considered a done deal in the feverswamp?

Anyway, I digress.

Good luck to Steve in finding a nice lefty echo chamber that is proud enough of the label to A) not lie (again, and again) about it and, B) wants to hire someone who is good at it.

It's hardly surprising. Perry's a good reporter, and I'd be stunned if he either a: had much objection to the general editorial thrust at the MiniMon, or b: failed to chafe at the micromanagement from SoroCentral,or whatever they call it.