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Monday media links: Ducks, diapers, logrolling and Twitter

A few local media links to get our week started:

♦ KARE11’s Boyd Huppert and Jonathan Malat win a national Edward R. Murrow Award for a story on … a duck in a truck. I’m pretty sure that when Murrow was covering the London Blitz during World War II, he’d never have guessed his legacy would be honored with such a tale. But it’s impossible to surpress a smile watching this piece, and Hupert, Malat and KARE excel at this sort of storytelling, so sincere congrats to them.

♦ It was only a matter of time before burnout afflicted one of Minnesota’s political-reporting corps, and MPR’s Tom Scheck cries “Uncle” — or rather “Father” —as his six-month-old son proves a bigger priority than waiting out the eight-month-old U.S. Senate recount. Scheck will be taking a leave through Labor Day — and congrats to MPR bosses for letting him do it.

Scheck’s recapitulation of the endless tease of a slower political season is worth reading, but my favorite part is in the comments: Bill Prendergast, creator of the comic “False Witness: The Michele Bachmann Story,” predicts Scheck will get bored with the kid fast, subverting his intention not to “blog, to tweet or to contact sources.” Will Scheck prove as obsessed as Prendergast? Stay tuned!

[Update: Scheck politely informs me that he’s not burned out, it’s just that looking 20 years down the road, his son’s formative months trump politics. I think this makes it even more likely he’ll slip up and tweet before Labor Day, though.]

♦ If you scratched your head trying to figure out why the Sunday’s Strib offered oddly newsless B-section coverage of Hennepin County Commissioner Peter McLaughlin’s cute, water-loving 3-year-old, take note of the byline: Kate McCarthy, who happens to be married to McLaughlin’s Government Center colleague, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman.

McCarthy, a former PiPress journalist, has been freelancing lifestyle features for the Strib since March, with more legitimate angles than the McLaughlin valentine. In an editor’s note, Nancy Barnes justified carving out some of the Section Formerly Known As Metro as a return to classic newspapering: “… this content appeared in local sections before standalone daily lifestyle sections were born decades ago.”

Maybe so, but hitting mush a few pages into the second news section — at least this past week — doesn’t exactly buttress the Strib’s attempt to brand Sundays as the place for tough-minded coverage. Even if you’re more tolerant of weekend fluff, writing that’s better suited to one’s Christmas letter hardly qualifies as what Barnes terms “helpful family news.”

♦ If you’re a Kerri Miller fan, you’ll want to check out this role-reversing Q-and-A with Twin Cities Daily Planet’s Lisa Peterson-De La Cueva.

♦ City Pages’ Bradley Campbell — honing his specialty as a Twitter connoisseur — ranks Timberwolves forward Kevin Love’s Top Ten “off the charts hilarious” tweets. It’s Campbell’s second post on Love’s 140-character emissions in a week, and it’s time for Brad to admit he’s nearly as addicted to Twitter as some of us much mocked early adopters. Still, I can’t argue with his taste.

Comments (3)

  1. Submitted by William Souder on 06/29/2009 - 08:55 pm.

    Help me out here. What do you mean when you say “…hitting mush a few pages into the second news section?” Did you read it on paper or something? How quaint! What’s a “B-section?”

    But thanks for drilling down into that hidden conflict-of-interest. I was prepared to buy the whole adorable in-love-with-nature fairy tale until you busted it wide open. I suppose in real life the little girl watches Glenn Beck and smokes occasionally.

    Still, you were too harsh, sir. The story was a mere eight grafs…a couple hundred words, tops, at least in the online version. I say this in part because Ms. McCarthy is an old college friend and a fine writer…my conflict of interest revealed…but also because I thought you missed the real problem with the story: the photo editor’s failure to contemplate Kate’s description of McLaughlin as “uber-fit.”

  2. Submitted by David Brauer on 06/29/2009 - 10:31 pm.

    You sir, are catty about Mr. McLaughlin, who at 60 could kick both of our asses, not that that’s the highest bar. Knowing Peter’s athletic proclivities, I forgive Kate her enthusaisms; she is a pro and sent me a very classy note after this appeared.

    As for the story itself, I just think the paper can do better. Not every piece has to be Woodward and Bernstein, but even on its own level, I found the piece neither useful or all that unique. Kid goes swimming a lot. That is truly tiny town news.

    The Strib insists it did not cannibalize news space, but it can make better assignments than this.

    And yeah, still clinging to newsprint like the dear Strib itself. Had the piece not gotten-front-and-center treatment, I might never have noticed.

  3. Submitted by William Souder on 06/29/2009 - 11:02 pm.

    Well, no knock on Mr. McLaughlin, then. But I’m only a few weeks shy of 60 myself and have athletic “proclivities” of which you are surely unaware. Meet me on a bike or in the pool and bring money. On the other hand, if, as you say, the definition of fit is anybody who can kick my ass then we live in a very fit world indeed.

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