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MedCity News hires Parmar from Finance & Commerce

Well, you can’t exactly say MedCity News is sucking up to Life Science Alley or the Elk Run biobusiness development now.
The Ohio-based med-tech news site — whose stories appear on MinnPost — has become an aggressive player in Twin Cities business

Well, you can’t exactly say MedCity News is sucking up to Life Science Alley or the Elk Run biobusiness development now.

The Ohio-based med-tech news site — whose stories appear on MinnPost — has become an aggressive player in Twin Cities business journalism. MedCity’s first Minnesota correspondent, Thomas Lee, got noses out of joint with opinionated coverage of the oft-delayed billion-dollar project near Rochester. As I noted last fall, his views occasioned some tut-tutting from journalists at bigger dailies.

Lee left MedCity in January for another tech site, but not before alleging that a local industry trade association, Life Science Alley, pulled ads because he had criticized Elk Run’s backers. An LSA spokesman and MedCity president Chris Seper said that’s not how things went down.

Well, if folks thought Seper would use Lee’s exit to suck up to Elk Run or LSA, the president destroyed that notion by hiring Arundhati Parmar, a Finance & Commerce correspondent.

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As Lee himself has said, Parmar has often led on the Elk Run story, often with bad news, or at least deep skepticism. She’s been a tenacious watchdog on a project getting nearly $2 million in state economic development funds plus a speed-up on $40 million in infrastructure improvements.

F&C editor Scott Fagerstrom encouraged Parmar to write columns with voice. However, he was fired in November, and owner Dolan Media hasn’t hired a new editorial boss. The four-month (and counting) leadership gap isn’t good news for F&C.

As for Elk Run, the Star Tribune — which has been much tamer about the project than competitors — reported in September that investor Steve Burrill expected to have a “firm commitment” for the $1 bil by 2010’s end. Even though Burrill walked that back the next day, we’re six weeks into 2011. Time for an update, Strib business desk? You don’t want Parmar to catch you napping.