Memo to KSTP (Channel 5): Don't mess with the Iron Range.
A story last night, purported to be an "investigation," asked how many taxpayer dollars are being spent to keep Ironworld, the Iron Range tourist attraction open. "Even if you've never heard of it, it's costing you money," the station said.
The story raised the dander of Iron Range writer Aaron J. Brown:
KSTP makes it sound like the state taxpayers are paying for Ironworld when that is just not true. Mining taxes pay for Ironworld and these taxes are paid by the mining companies in lieu of local property taxes. These funds are funneled through a state agency, Iron Range Resources, but the money belongs to the region, not the state. So the people who have the right to be angry about Ironworld are the residents of Iron Range cities, and most of them recognize the unique role Ironworld plays in preserving and sharing Iron Range culture.
But none of that came through in the story. Instead, Reporter Bob sticks a microphone into the face of strangers in the Twin Cities and asks them if they've "heard of Ironworld." They hadn't of course, but then again not many Iron Rangers have "heard" of KSTP. Then he sticks the microphone into the face of Iron Rangers and the worst he could find was someone who hadn't been to Ironworld in "a couple years." When's the last time you paid to go to the zoo, Bob?
For a little history on the IRRRB, including background in the politics of it all and the criticicism that the "taconite tax" has been used for things outside its original mission, see this 1999 MPR story.
I love it when the proof is so blatantly in the pudding. Local news (nightly news shows broadcast on network television) is just plain rediculous. The content is often not news worthy and, as this post illustrates, stories are rarely covered as news news ought to be.
"Iron Range culture"? Surely an oxymoron.
I can't wait to go to that place, right after I stop by the Biggest Ball of Twine museum.
Ironworld sounds like a lot of fun - for slack-jawed yokels who watch NASCAR and crush beer cans on their foreheads.
Whether it's contrived controversy at a Muslim school, the search for a specious smiley-face killer, or an inaccurate Ironworld investigation you can count on KSTP's assistant news director Sam Zeff to be at the center of the confusion. It is truly shocking how much damage one psychotic person can do. Fired from his last job for abusive, sexist, and racist behavior, Zeff is a one man wrecking crew. His impact will be felt in the KSTP newsroom long after his departure. How long will it take KSTP management to cut out the cancer?
I find it highly unusual that this reporter would jeopardize his career when he has such a terrific bio-
Bob McNaney - Investigative Reporter
Bob joined 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS in April 1995. He began his broadcasting career at KIMT-TV in Mason City, Iowa. He also worked at KXXV-TV in Waco, Texas; KTTC-TV in Rochester, Minnesota; and KLAS-TV in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Bob has received several awards for his coverage of the airline beat. In 2001, he was honored with the Associated Press Managing Editors Citation for his story on the Northwest Airlines mechanics new contract. In 2000, Bob was first to break the Northwest Airlines’ mishandled holiday mail story and received the National Headliner Award for Spot News; the Minnesota Associated Press Award for Single Story Cooperation; and the Regional Edward R. Murrow Award for Spot News Coverage for his enterprise reporting. In 2003, Bob received an Emmy Award for Single Newscast for “Wellstone Crash”. Bob has also won several other Associated Press awards for excellence in covering live, breaking news.
Bob was raised in Oak Park, IL and graduated from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul.
Bob’s desire to replace Harry Carey has been replaced by a no-nonsense pursuit of breaking news in the Twin Cities area: "I like the constant deadline…the clock is always running…it’s like the last minute of the game everyday…all day long."
You can read comments from some of the people on the range on the Mesabi Daily News online