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Star Tribune cuts back Kersten’s column – and likely, Coleman’s

Beginning in the new year, the Star Tribune will cut back Katherine Kersten’s weekly Sunday op-ed column to twice monthly.

“Yes, they are cutting me back to twice a month,” Kersten confirms. “I will continue to write under this new arrangement.”

And what of Kersten’s op-ed mate Nick Coleman — who grudgingly accepted the weekly gig as a sort of settlement after he and Kersten had their metro columns taken away in 2008?

Coleman did not immediately return an email left through his blog. But former Strib colleague and MinnPost contributor John Reinan says Coleman recently told him of the cutback. Coleman — who has written for, and won awards at, Twin Cities dailies for decades — is considering giving up the column entirely, Reinan says.

“I’m telling you because I think it’s awful that Twin Cities readers are going to be getting less Nick Coleman, whether it’s twice a month or no times a month,” Reinan says.

The Strib op-ed page will be duller without the experienced provocateur, Reinan adds: “We don’t have that Eugene McCarthy point-of-view much anymore.”

In the past year, Kersten has skipped several weeks, so for her fans, the cutback might not represent much practical change. However, Coleman has been committed to the gig, even as he’s ramped up his blog and become a Bush Leadership Fellow. The Strib remains a megaphone, even if Coleman writes unfettered elsewhere.

Earlier this year, Coleman lost a McCarthy Fellowship at St. John’s University after wealthy conservative alumni complained about his Strib columns.

Editorial page editor Scott Gillespie would not confirm or explain the arrangement — but didn’t knock it down, either. “Nick and Katherine both have contracts with us, and because of that I don’t think it would be right for me to comment right now,” Gillespie says. “If they choose to talk with you about their situations, that’s fine.”

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Comments (17)

  1. Submitted by Michael Norman on 12/17/2010 - 02:26 pm.

    The irony of Coleman losing a fellowship named after Eugene McCarthy is jaw-droppingly amazing. Given the circumstances, I doubt that McCarthy himself could qualify for one of his own fellowships…

  2. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 12/17/2010 - 03:26 pm.

    Too bad McCarthy didn’t have the judgment to invest in fellowship in a different institution. If you think that Catholic University Education in this country is still allowed to present a broad range of ideas and be even-handed in it’s perspective you haven’t been paying attention to how much Pope Benedict and his minions have been ratcheting down the thumbscrews in order to force university professors and administrators to tow the company line.

  3. Submitted by John Edwards on 12/17/2010 - 03:32 pm.

    Coleman’s experience at St. John’s appears quite similar to that of Karen Himle at the University of Minnesota where a group of liberals strongly disagreed with what she did.

  4. Submitted by John Reinan on 12/17/2010 - 03:52 pm.

    I just think it stinks that after 37 years, Nick Coleman might not be writing for a Twin Cities newspaper.

    There are other good columnists working in town, but nobody who combined passionate advocacy with solid reporting the way Nick did.

    He didn’t just have a point of view — points of view are a dime a dozen. Nick backed his up with shoe leather.

  5. Submitted by dan buechler on 12/17/2010 - 05:14 pm.

    This just is empty, losing at St. Thomas. What a vacuum.

  6. Submitted by Arnie Hillmann on 12/18/2010 - 09:08 am.

    It is of great interest that no one has commented on Kersten. It confirms that she is brainless.

  7. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 12/18/2010 - 09:53 am.

    //Coleman’s experience at St. John’s appears quite similar to that of Karen Himle at the University of Minnesota where a group of liberals strongly disagreed with what she did.

    Actually there’s little comparison at all. Coleman’s dismissal was literally driven by political complaints about the politics of his columns outside the university. Wealthy donors threatened to withhold money if he stayed on.

    Himle overstepped her authority and canceled a film screening for ostensibly public relations reasons. Not being a scientist she questioned the science of a presentation that had been already been vetted although controversial. At the U. this was a academic freedom issue, it’s a little different at a public university that at a private Catholic university. The complaint against Himle wasn’t her politics, it was her censorship. No one threatened to withhold money or stop making donations if she wasn’t fired, and unlike Coleman she wasn’t fired. Himle went out of her way to create a public relations disaster that was predictable and completely unnecessary. In Himle’s case it was her competence not her politics that because an issue.

    Over at St. Johns, Coleman’s politics and only his politics were the explicit issue.

  8. Submitted by donald maxwell on 12/18/2010 - 12:41 pm.

    When you read the language of the fat cat who got Coleman busted out of St John’s, it is striking how worshipful the rich guy is of corporations.

  9. Submitted by Dan Hintz on 12/18/2010 - 01:08 pm.

    There is a similarity between the Coleman/St. John’s situation and the Himle/Troubled Waters situation. The similarity isn’t between Himle and Coleman, though, its between the censorship of St. Johns and the censorship of Himle. I’d also like to think that it wasn’t just liberals who disagreed with Himle’s censorship and outright lies in trying to cover her tracks.

  10. Submitted by Joe Musich on 12/19/2010 - 09:33 pm.

    Geez ! Money has free speech. More of the same. Maybe he’ll come to MinnPost ?

  11. Submitted by Dick Novack on 12/20/2010 - 07:58 am.

    Let me be the only one so far that will be THRILLED to see Coleman go – and I am a moderate who believes in diverse views and the benefits of provocateurs.

    Coleman, at the very least, is the #1 target example when conservatives dismiss the Strib and its endorsements/opinions, convincingly so to moderate voters. Nick Coleman’s benefit is not diverse opinion, strangely enough he is an aid to polarization of the right. These days we need “common ground”/”compromise” to move society forward, not more polarization.

    Of course, not liking his writing style may have prejudiced me … 🙂

  12. Submitted by Lance Groth on 12/20/2010 - 03:53 pm.

    In regard to #11, so what you’re saying is that the answer to the profusion of strident voices on the right is to have no voices on the left? The proper response is no response?

    OK then, just wanted to be sure I understood.

    I have to say, if you think that the left going quiet will motivate the right to find “common ground” and “compromise” and, well, moderate … you’re dreaming.

  13. Submitted by Dick Novack on 12/21/2010 - 08:22 am.

    Dear #12
    You are not seriously suggesting that Coleman is the only liberal voice at that acclaimed bastion of progressive thought, the Strib?

    Your plethera of strident right voices does exist, mostly in broadcast media.*

    My point is, that Coleman is – to righties – so far off the wall he makes it easy for the right to target the Strib as very biased. A very effective and frequently used argument against Strib endorsements and articles in elections. There is no equivalent wacko-ultra-conservative on Strib staff for leftists to pick on.

    *[Feel free to tell whatever jokes you know about the varying reading and writing capabilities of Republicans and Democrats]

  14. Submitted by Ron Gotzman on 12/21/2010 - 10:53 am.

    Maybe Minnpost, with the goal of becoming fair and balanced, could hire K.K.?

  15. Submitted by Henk Tobias on 12/25/2010 - 10:53 pm.

    Dick, the premise of you comments: That Coleman is some wacko liberal, is false. Coleman is a liberal yes, wacko, no. His positions are well thought out and supported.

    This comment is just crazy:

    “There is no equivalent wacko-ultra-conservative on Strib staff for leftists to pick on.”

    You either have no concept of what a wacko righty is or you don’t read the Star Tribune. This article is about Kathrine Kersten for Pete’s sake!

    But really let’s be honest, you are no Moderate. In most elections you vote Republican. You may have voted for Obama, mostly because McCain and Sarah were so bad, not because you liked him and you voted for Coleman over Franken, because you didn’t want a “comedian” in the Senate.

  16. Submitted by Patrick Guernsey on 01/01/2011 - 09:57 am.

    MinnPost doesn’t need KK, they have Cindy Brucato.

  17. Submitted by RB Holbrook on 01/04/2011 - 09:36 am.

    There is no similarity between the Coleman/St. John’s situation and the Himle/Troubled Waters situation. Himle was not “censored,” she was the one doing the censoring. She blocked the Troubled Waters film for reasons unrelated to the integrity of its scholarship or message. Himle was not hired to inform the public about environmental issues, so making her back down from restricting the speech of others was not “censoring” her.

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