Who says newsies can’t make money noodling around on the Internet? Bob Ingrassia — whose Newsbobber aggregation site was favorably reviewed in this space two weeks ago — will take his concept to MPR as part of a new aggregation/newshub venture, Minnesota Today.
Ingrassia says Minnesota Today will tentatively launch Jan. 1, under the MPRNewsQ umbrella. He describes MT as “a content sharing partnership. There are two main components. One is a web project that will aim to become Minnesota news hub. Then the other big piece is distribution of MPR content — not only online, but in print, in partnership with other media. It would include MPR content on the digital side.”
The mind reels. As newspapers have cut back, MPR stories appear more frequently in the Strib and PiPress via Associated Press. And as I’ve written several dozen times here, organizations like the New York Times have local-market expansion plans predicated on hometown content partnerships. Organizations such as Huffington Post and ESPN are trying similar local efforts.
While Ingrassia didn’t know about any content-sharing deals, should the Times do a Twin Cities edition, an MPR pair-up certainly seems logical to me.
It will also be fun to see if MPR’s relative financial stability and organizational heft, paired with Ingrassia’s demonstrated savvy, can create a state-of-the-art Minnesota news hub. (Bureaucratic weight and cautiousness would have to be overcome.) As the web evolves, being both a content provider and content coraller is something of a Holy Grail, and no one’s really pulled it off yet. How will the Strib and PiPress, still the biggest Twin Cities content generators, respond, or fit in?
Of Minnesota Today, Ingrassia says, “I think it’s a smart move for MPR. There’s room and a need for a robust Minnesota news site that aims to become a statewide hub for news and cultural info, not just limited to one source.”
Ingrassia — one of the few ex-PiPressers who didn’t jump to MPR in recent years — says he began talking to MPR a couple of months ago, about a partnership or co-branding, not a full-time position. But discussions heated up in the last few weeks. What was once a free-time hobby becomes a paying gig Nov. 9.