Skip to Content

Support MinnPost

Blogger sets up internship program

There are many ways to determine whether your blog is successful. You could look at page views, revenue or search-engine strength.

But now, thanks to Dan Gustafson of Wayzata.com, there's another factor that can give you a cue into a blog's well-being.  

Interns.

The community news blogger in the west metro is soliciting three media interns for the upcoming spring semester to "write stories, create podcasts, and record and posting video related to the Wayzata Community."

The internships will be unpaid, but the students will be able to earn credit for the work that they do.

"They will be published in a way that posting something on a Myspace or Facebook page cannot replicate," Gustafson noted.

Kudos to Gustafson and the institutions supporting him in his move for tapping into the online publishing talent of the Millennial Generation. After all, the job prospects for these students are slim, particularly if their diploma says "Journalism." 


Wayzata.com is one of the stronger community-based sites in the Twin Cities area. The site posts regular updates on local news much like a community paper and has developed an email distribution list for news alerts.

Gustafson's news writing is good and the topics he covers – everything from high school sports to city council meetings to crime alerts – tend to resonate with local readers.

But there are a few spots where the blog falls short of some other heavy hitters around town. It lacks a good tool for user-generated content and the design could use more luster.  

All of that aside, Gustafson believes there is a sustainable market for what he's doing.

"Wayzata has about 40,000 to 50,000 residents within its trade area, according to a recent retail study by the Wayzata Chamber of Commerce," he explained. "Over 30,000 of these residents make more than $100,000 annually."

Right now, the site makes "modest" revenue off local advertising and Gustafson is closely watching similar sites around the country to see how they are making money. He hopes to eventually implement advertising programs for local merchants, local real-estate listings and merchandising.

Gustafson is also attempting to make inroads with city hall and the local chamber to increase his visibility, which can have positive and negative impacts on the site's reporting quality and focus.

While the model is far from perfected, Wayzata seems to be a good place to incubate this process for other cities. Few other communities around the Twin Cities are able to replicate the lakeshore town's robust income base.

There are other local web sites that are experimenting with similar models, such as Kingfield.org, the Northeast Beat in Minneapolis, Cityofeagan.org and Locally Grown in Northfield.
 
This is certainly an area that will see more interest as newspapers – metro dailies and local papers – continue to struggle financially.

Minnesota blogosphere highlights, lowlights
• Ed at The Deets posts a picture he took of a red Cadillac closely following a plow during Monday's storm and chides the driver for unsafe driving. His commenters then astutely point out that the picture was taken from the driver's side of his car.

• Ever dream of being in a music video? Perfect Porridge advertises a unique opportunity available to Minnesota music fans later this month at 7th St. Entry. Only catch: You have to dress like a special agent.

• Smithers MINNEAPOLIS finds out that one Web site rated him as the second highest Twitterer in Minneapolis  and then tries to bribe his readers into following him on Twitter with Salt-Water-Taffy.

• Lady Logician at Anti-Strib and Mitch at Shot in the Dark blast Garrison Keillor, calling his latest column "elitist," "racist" and "flabby drivel." 

Worth reading
I normally wouldn't recommend reading a local blog that has only been updated once since October but this site gets a pass – most of its subjects are closed for the season. Rate My DQ reviews local Dairy Queens in the Twin Cities and compares their prices.

From Robbinsdale to White Bear Lake to Lakeville, the site reviews individual Dairy Queens and keeps track of the lowest prices on items like Peanut Buster Parfaits. (My home Dairy Queen in Robbinsdale has some of the highest prices for dipped cones in the metro. Who knew?)

So click over if you have some time. It's a nice reminder of the things Minnesotans do when it's not well below zero.

Get MinnPost's top stories in your inbox

Related Tags: