[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.
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 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.”