Star Tribune board chair: MPR our real competition

I’m live-blogging the Future of the News conference at MPR right now, but wanted to post a couple of newsy bits from new Star Tribune board chair Mike Sweeney:

First, Sweeney, whose combative quotes re: Bill Kling’s empire made news today, effectively dissed the Pioneer Press by pronouncing MPR will be his biggest competition, especially over a 10-year time frame. Medium-incorrect maybe, but I doubt many in this crowd will argue.

(The PiPress has not been heard from today, but its newsroom remains bigger than MPR’s, for the moment at least. Earlier, MPR announced a $5 million gift from an anonymous donor for an “enterprise journalism” fund. My comment: it had better fund tough-minded local investigations.)

Second, he announced that the Strib — a privately owned company whose ownership isn’t precisely known — will report quarterly financials just like a public company. That’s cool.

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Comments (9)

  1. Submitted by Annalise Cudahy on 11/16/2009 - 01:28 pm.

    I think MPR is about to get tag-teamed by the Strib, MinnPost, PPress, and everyone else. This could get interesting.

    I’m not sure that the truth usually wins in any real media war, but if everyone involved develops a sincere interest in new perspectives we could all win this one.

  2. Submitted by Jeff Cagle on 11/16/2009 - 01:50 pm.

    Interesting comments from Mr. Sweeney. He has the chance to redeem the Star Tribune from its obscurities thanks to Par Ridder, Chris Harte, and Avista.

  3. Submitted by Brian Simon on 11/16/2009 - 04:14 pm.

    The Strib overestimate themselves. The quality of reporting coming out of that newsroom does not reach that of MPR. Given their ongoing purges, I don’t expect that to change. Where the Strib has an edge is in breadth of coverage – they’re hitting the market segment that wants to hear about the Edina mayor’s race or the Eden Prairie HS football team’s record. MPR isn’t covering those stories, unless there’s a human interest piece – and those are few and far between. From my perspective, as a Minneapolis resident, Strib’s competition is the collection of neighborhood papers that cover hyper-local issues. I get far better local coverage from the overlap in the Nokomis messenger, southside pride & the Highland paper than from the Strib. But for statewide or national stuff I have MPR, Minnpost & national papers like the Wash Post & NY Times. For me, the Strib is a last resort as a news source. My wife likes it for the Home section on weekends.

  4. Submitted by Matthew Steele on 11/16/2009 - 06:53 pm.

    The thing the Strib has going for it is that I always. go. to. It would be great if these neighborhood papers could band together and figure out a way to get their stories somewhere where I’ll see them. Does it make me lazy that I never think to go to the Highland Villager website? Meh. But I’m sure they have great articles. I just feel like I never have the chance to see them. Then again, maybe this is what MPR NewsQ (Or simply “” if you listen to their ads on KTLK) is meant to accomplish.

  5. Submitted by Raj Maddali on 11/17/2009 - 08:04 am.

    The Stribs’ competition is themselves and the internet. There are plenty of monetization streams from the people who visit their web sites. I figure most people who hit the net in Minnesota will visit the strib. So the question is how to make their site more sticky.

  6. Submitted by Joe Johnson on 11/17/2009 - 08:48 am.

    So he is admitting that non for profit news outlets are his papers biggest competitor? Government assisted entities killing the market place…where have I seen this before?

  7. Submitted by Paul Sand on 11/17/2009 - 10:11 am.

    It seems silly for the Strib to say it does not view the PiPress as competition, seeing as how the paper still moves 185K/daily and 250K/Sunday in an immediately adjacent market. Is this an acknowledgment that the Strib won’t compete in the east metro (besides St. Paul proper)?

    David, you’ve reported several times about the PiPress’ flat circulation over the past few years, and how that’s a sign of tremendous success given the poor health of newspapers. I don’t understand how the Strib — which has seen a huge circ drop in the past five years — fails to see this as a competition.

  8. Submitted by Bob Collins on 11/17/2009 - 11:13 am.

    The fact the Strib didn’t identify the piPress as competition told me that it’s a foregone conclusion at the STrib that they’ll buy the PiPress or pick up its carcass in the future, and that the Twin Cities will be a one-newspaper town.

    Not sure if anyone asked that, tho.

  9. Submitted by William Lindeke on 11/17/2009 - 03:55 pm.

    Might I point out that the Highland Villager doesn’t have a website?

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