Three years ago this summer, a small group of journalists started brainstorming in a conference room at the Roseville Library.
We talked about the topics we wanted to cover at the yet-to-launch MinnPost.com, what wasn’t being covered because of the downsizing news media, what we absolutely wouldn’t cover (celebrity gossip), and about the writers we wanted to recruit as freelancers. We divvied up the list of names and arranged meetings with writers. I remember recruiting arts writers Amy Goetzman and Jim Walsh at The Cupcake and David Hawley at a coffee shop on Grand Avenue in St. Paul.
We met at the library or in cafés because our future office in a former Minneapolis factory was being painted, wired and furnished. But Web Editor Corey Anderson delivered updates on the progress of the office design he was overseeing. He chose dark red for an accent wall in the newsroom, and we marveled at how we’d never seen a red wall in a newsroom. I daresay most of us hadn’t seen that much new office furniture in our former newsrooms either.
Some of us started bringing in journalism memorabilia to hang on the exposed brick and harvest-gold walls, but not the beautiful red wall. Now that I think about it, the paint scheme is very similar to MinnPost’s flag/banner.
These are but a few of the odd memories surfacing as I prepare to leave MinnPost.com for a full-time editing job at Finance and Commerce. After three years of trying on a few hats — from news editor to reporting on health-care reform and starting The Next Degree and Arts Arena blogs — it’s time to wear one hat again.
Thank you for the privilege
It has been a privilege to play a small part in launching a nonprofit publication for Minnesotans and for journalism. I’m still thrilled that I got to cover health-care reform at a critical time in our nation’s history. I enjoyed getting to know the higher-education community in my short time on the beat.
I’m grateful to the readers, funders and advertisers who took a chance on MinnPost, and to the journalists who continued to write for us even after we had to reduce our rates for stories and posts. I also am grateful to the sources who helped inform my stories, and to those readers who took time to comment on my work, even those who gave me hell. I sometimes found the comments more interesting and enlightening than my stories, which says a lot about our smart and thoughtful readers.
I’m proud that the early brainstormers for MinnPost stuck to our convictions and dared to challenge the thinking about what would succeed in online media, including:
• Monitoring comments and requiring our commenters to use their real names and a civil tone. We were cast as fuddy-duddies, but I think that decision has paid off with some of the most thoughtful and intelligent online conversations occurring in Minnesota.
• Rejecting intrusive advertising (pop-up ads, for example) even when we knew it would have helped us pay the bills.
• Steering clear of the annoying membership pledge drives common in nonprofit broadcast media.
But sticking to the last two convictions has come at a cost.
Here comes the plea
If you value the journalism on MinnPost.com and want to see more of it, please consider donating or becoming a member, advertising or volunteering. If you can’t do any of that, please sign up for MinnPost’s free daily newsletter or click on the ads you see on the website. Email the writers or comment on their stories.
Every little click helps MinnPost’s mission to produce high-quality journalism and a sustainable business model.
Editor’s note: Next week, The Next Degree will feature stories from the Hechinger Report and the Christian Science Monitor, plus a longer-form story that Casey has been finishing up. We will inform MinnPost readers about upcoming plans as soon as possible.