As the Star Tribune was revving up its ejector seat Monday morning, one reporter told his bosses he was leaving of his own volition.
Thomas Lee — who covers “emerging and growth companies” for the not-emerging, not-growing Strib — is going to MedCity News. The Ohio-based site was founded earlier this year to focus on “business, innovation and influence in health care.” Some Cleveland newspaper veterans are involved, but Lee says he will be MedCity’s Minnesota bureau chief.
“Strangely enough, I gave notice to Nancy Barnes just a few minutes after she informed the newsroom of the cuts,” Lee says. “[M]y decision was completely coincidental.”
The general trends in the industry did seem to play a part in the youngish reporter’s thinking.
“I want to be forward-thinking and entrepreneurial. I firmly believe our industry’s new business models will originate with innovative start-ups like MedCity News versus big legacy newspapers that have struggled, by virtue of size and culture, to adjust to rapidly changing circumstances.”
The Strib has not named Wieffering’s replacement, which is now probably mixed up in the newsroom restructuring that must accommodate up to 30 job cuts. Lee’s beat is relatively new, and it will be interesting to see if the Strib fills it. Despite the layoffs, I’m betting reporters will be largely if not entirely spared. But whether they’ll be replaced remains to be seen.