Strib buyouts: Coleman, Kersten, Sack targeted

Star Tribune management is blowing up their columnist roster.

According to a buyout memo released this afternoon and newsroom sources, Nick Coleman and Katherine Kersten will lose their columns, though they may be able to remain at the paper as reporters.

To put it mildly, that would be a stretch for Kersten, who has never held such a journalism job. Expect a gigantic eruption from the right wing.

The paper’s other metro columnists — Lileks? CJ? — may not be breathing easy, either. Management’s buyout memo asked for “up to three” metro columnists and “up to one” editorial cartoonist, which seems a classification limited to Steve Sack.

The buyout roster also includes up to two reporters and/or editorial writers and up to three photographers and/or videographers.

I’ll have more on the memo, and the developments, in a subsequent post.

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Comments (17)

  1. Submitted by Doug Hamlin on 12/15/2008 - 02:58 pm.

    I’ve been wondering how long it would take before Sack ended up drawing for MinnPost. Maybe he’ll win you a Pulitzer.

  2. Submitted by Julie Sandburg on 12/15/2008 - 03:05 pm.

    Yeah I was going to say, why on Earth would Kersten remain as a reporter?!

  3. Anonymous Submitted by Anonymous on 12/15/2008 - 03:22 pm.

    Wow, I can’t let that one past. Kersten does far more reporting than Coleman ever did, regardless of the fact that she doesn’t have the vaunted journalism degree.

  4. Submitted by Randall Frykberg on 12/15/2008 - 03:50 pm.

    The Strib made clear how much value it places on Metro columnists by muzzling them in advance of the election. After allowing Kersten one more opportunity to relay God’s message of eternal damnation to Franken, management demanded silence and threatened to turn the car around. Now, it seems, they have.

    My lingering question is why the Strib continues to retain a columnist in another section who has taken erroneous reporting to new comic heights, ignored basic conflict-of-interest principles, and become the object of public mockery from his fellow columnists. I guess solid reporters like Aschburner didn’t have enough close, personal friends over there.

  5. Submitted by Leo Pusateri on 12/15/2008 - 03:54 pm.

    Remember the Flying Imams? Remember Lori Swanson (gate)?

    Katherine Kersten has more investigative reporting skills in her pinky fingernail than Nick Coleman EVER displayed in his entire career.

  6. Submitted by Aaron Landry on 12/15/2008 - 04:07 pm.

    I think Kersten would do well as a right-wing partisan blogger (who doesn’t feel the need to always get her facts straight) — because that’s essentially what she is now except there’s a print version too.

  7. Submitted by Chris Johnson on 12/15/2008 - 04:26 pm.

    At least Coleman knows how to be a reporter and dig out the facts, regardless of his personal position on a subject. Kersten has not got clue one about journalism. Everything she has ever written starts with some myopic, uninformed prejudice she holds and builds from there, inventing “facts” as necessary to support her tenuous grasp on reality. I disagree vehemently with Coleman at times, but at least he makes sense. Any light Kersten has ever brought to a subject has been purely accidental.

  8. Submitted by Crystal Eitle on 12/15/2008 - 05:06 pm.

    My elation at saying “buh-bye” to Katerine Kersten was eclipsed by dismay at the news that the Strib might let Steve Sack go.

    Sack is one of the most talented editorial columnists in the country, perhaps the most talented. I’ve enjoyed his cartoons ever since I was a little kid. The StarTribune is making a huge mistake if they let him go.

    I’ll probably cancel my subscription if they do. At this point it seems like the Strib is caught in a vicious circle: lay off talent, lose subscribers, and so it goes.

  9. Submitted by Tony Wagner on 12/15/2008 - 05:08 pm.

    I don’t care much for Coleman the columnist, but the man had many years of prior experience as a reporter. I doubt any of us here have any real knowledge of his reporting work (good reporters aren’t exactly the most conspicuous characters), so to dismiss his skill at it seems quite unfair. I’m not sure how well he could transition back to that role, or even if he’d want to go back to it, but I wouldn’t judge him solely by his columnist gig.

    Kersten, on the other hand, has never been an actual reporter, to my knowledge; she was a member of a think-tank and is now an opinion columnist. To even think about her becoming a reporter would be a huge career transition, something I doubt even she would want to attempt.

  10. Submitted by John N. Finn on 12/15/2008 - 07:54 pm.

    I never quite understood why CJ was featured at the newspaper for so long now. But then, I seldom read the tabloids while waiting at the grocery store checkout line either.

  11. Submitted by Eva Young on 12/15/2008 - 09:16 pm.

    Kersten rarely writes anything original. For example:

    It’s also fairly predictable – either having the vapors over “the gays” or “the muslims”. The material she had could always be found on right wing blogs before she wrote about it.

    I stopped my subscription with the strib a while ago. I’m not much interested in a paper that has no national/international coverage.

  12. Submitted by Steve Aschburner on 12/15/2008 - 10:36 pm.

    Thanks, #4!

  13. Submitted by Beryl John-Knudson on 12/15/2008 - 11:43 pm.

    Not to worry about Katherine Kersten. There must be numerous ultra-conservative, fundamentalist church newsletters just waiting for her expertise god willing, whomever. I’ll even say a little prayer for her safe passage…

  14. Submitted by Ron Gotzman on 12/16/2008 - 09:16 am.

    With Nick Boy’s fairness and objectivity, he could always get a reporting job for MSNBC.

  15. Submitted by Chris Johnson on 12/16/2008 - 11:33 am.

    I’m perplexed by CJ’s longevity as well. I’d rather split her salary between Coleman and Kersten and keep them both on board.

  16. Submitted by David Koski on 12/16/2008 - 12:44 pm.

    “Katherine Kersten has more investigative reporting skills in her pinky fingernail than Nick Coleman EVER displayed in his entire career.”

    –Leo Pusateri–

    Leo, that is so last election cycle, the whole little pinky exaggeration. It was overplayed when Palin was launched into the spotlight. The one I recall most was “Sarah Plain has more executive experience in her little pinky than Obama and Biden combined”. In other words, simply childish. So little children that exaggerate are cute, but are not worthy of being considered of much use in making important decisions. You sir, and JB Saunders are obvious right wing hacks and shining examples of Kersten intolerance. Change your own diapers somewhere where people care for your style of ranting.

  17. Anonymous Submitted by Anonymous on 12/21/2008 - 06:01 pm.

    Hey David Koski,
    Try to craft an argument next time that doesn’t rely solely on an unsupported accusation that someone is a “hack.” And what does intolerance have to do with it? “Changing diapers”? You crack me up. Katherine Kersten broke more newsworthy items in her short time at the paper than Nick Coleman did in the last 10–that’s a fact. Nick Coleman ceased to be a reporter years ago, and is now simply an extreme partisan with no regard for truth (witness the bridge opinion series)–also a fact.

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