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Newspaper drops daily print version to focus on Web

Posted at 12:15 PM on February 11, 2008 by Melanie Sommer (3 Comments)

The Capital Times of Madison, Wisconsin, has announced plans to drop its daily print publication to focus its editorial resources on the paper's Web site. It'll still publish two weekly tabloid-type publications -- one featuring its editorial and opinion columns, and one focusing on the arts.
The Cap Times, which has been around for some 90 years, is Madison's afternoon paper, and its daily circulation has been dropping for years -- it now stands at 17,072. It competes with the Wisconsin State Journal, the morning paper with a much larger customer base.

The Cap Times is known as the "progressive" media voice in the Madison market, in keeping with the mission of its founder, William T. Evjue.

Here's a Q&A with Dave Zweifel, the editor of the Cap Times.

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More changes coming to the Star Tribune

Posted at 12:31 PM on January 23, 2008 by Melanie Sommer (0 Comments)

Several blogs in the market have been writing about the latest round of changes in the works at the Star Tribune newspaper of Minneapolis. Publisher Chris Harte sent around a fairly lengthy memo to employees yesterday, outlining the paper's decision to refine its suburban coverage -- but more importantly, the financial challenges it's facing. The paper is hiring an outside consultant to help determine how to restructure its operations to make more money.

Here's the Minnesota Monitor's take on the issue.

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It's all in the interpretation

Posted at 2:25 PM on December 20, 2007 by Bill Wareham (0 Comments)

I'm guessing the universe of people who read more than one newspaper is relatively small nowadays, confined mostly to people in the news business. But if you picked up both a Star Tribune and Pioneer Press today several of the headlines would've betrayed a divergence of opinion on what to make of the same basic sets of facts:

Strib: "Loophole left open for Ramstad return"
Pipress: "Ramstad says he isn't rethinking retirement"

Strib: "Alcohol keeps firm grip on state's teens"
Pipress: "More students skip alcohol, meth"

Strib: "Funds dig St. Paul Public Works budget from a hole"
Pipress: "Public works budget in a hole"

To quote a friend who also noted the differences, "glad the news is so clear-cut these days."

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'We regret the error'

Posted at 11:06 AM on December 17, 2007 by Melanie Sommer (9 Comments)

The errors made by journalists are highlighted in a blog called "Regret the Error," not to embarrass the reporters, says its author -- but to encourage them to become better.

Craig Silverman, a Canadian freelance journalist and author, decided the best way to make the case for accuracy was to expose mistakes as well as how they were corrected -- or not -- by the publications involved. Silverman created "Regret the Error" in 2004. You can read a q/a with Silverman at Poynter Online.

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Ridder era ends at Star Tribune

Posted at 4:28 PM on December 7, 2007 by Bill Wareham (1 Comments)

News this afternoon that Par Ridder has stepped down as publisher at the Star Tribune. Mind you, he's been barred from performing that job until next September. According to the Associated Press:

ST. PAUL (AP) - Par Ridder closed the door on returning as
publisher of the Star Tribune on Friday just as word spread of a
legal settlement between the Minneapolis newspaper and the St. Paul
Pioneer Press.

Ridder, whose decision in March to leave the Pioneer Press for
the Star Tribune sparked a lawsuit, was barred by court order and
the settlement from working at the Minneapolis newspaper until next

His resignation capped a flurry of activity in the case. A week
ago, he notified the Minnesota Court of Appeals that he would try
to overturn a judge's order keeping him from the Star Tribune.

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Will newspapers pull the plug on print?

Posted at 10:41 AM on December 5, 2007 by Melanie Sommer (3 Comments)

Given the shaky financial situation many newspapers are facing, and their growing reliance on online revenue, some wonder whether a day will come when some newspaper just pulls the plug on its printing press, and publishes exclusively online. Rick Edmonds, a media business analyst at the Poynter Institute journalism training center, says it's time for some discussion on the topic.

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Weather fun this weekend

Posted at 3:04 PM on November 30, 2007 by Melanie Sommer (1 Comments)

Winter apparently begins in earnest in the Upper Midwest this weekend, what with predictions of a fairly significant snowfall for most of Saturday. The usual hype is reaching somewhat of a fever pitch, I think, although the first snowfall is the kind of event that folks around here either enjoy or dread -- depending on their point of view.

We've been gabbing about the weather today in the newsroom, and sharing how we like/dislike the impending snow and cold.

For instance, one of our editors said he's gone so far as to ask U of M Climatologist Mark Seeley what city in the U.S. he considers ideal, weather-wise. The answer: Flagstaff, Arizona. Said editor is only half-jokingly making plans to move to Flagstaff (By the way, it's 46 degrees there today, with some light rain).

Another of our editors said today is his favorite kind of day -- cold but with no snow. He said if the temp never rises above 50 degrees again, he'd be happy as could be. And a third allowed as to how he needs some snow to make the cold more bearable.

As for me, my perfect weather is what you find on Maui, where the forecast most often calls for partly cloudy skies, a slight chance of an afternoon shower, and a high of 82 degrees.

Getting back to reality -- this weekend I'm just playing my usual waiting game -- waiting to see if the forecasts are right.

You can keep track of the weather this weekend at Paul Huttner and Craig Edwards will be updating the Updraft blog regularly, and our weather page has all the latest conditions, including watches and warnings.

We'd also love to see any photos you take of the winter wonderland outside your door, too. You can use this form to submit them.

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Lambert moving from Rake to Mpls.St. Paul magazine

Posted at 11:51 AM on November 28, 2007 by Melanie Sommer (0 Comments)

Media critic Brian Lambert is moving his blog, To the Slaughter, from The Rake magazine online to Mpls.St. Paul magazine, according to several blog reports out there. David Brauer at MinnPost has the most complete summary.

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Citizen journalists -- are they really journalists?

Posted at 11:57 AM on November 27, 2007 by Melanie Sommer (1 Comments)

The Washington Post has an interesting discussion today about the role of "citizen journalists," and whether folks with no formal training in journalism can carry that moniker.

So many news organizations, MPR included, are trying to encourage more audience interaction in a variety of ways. One of our more established tools is Public Insight Journalism, but we also look for less formal opportunities to have folks participate in discussions over what's going on in our world.

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New guy on the site

Posted at 11:52 AM on November 19, 2007 by Melanie Sommer (1 Comments)

We've got a new guy working on the MPR news Web site, starting today. He's Mike Reszler, our new managing editor for online news. Reszler comes to our shop from the St. Paul Pioneer Press, where he was senior editor. Once he gets settled in here, I'm hoping he'll become a regular writer on this blog.

Mike's coming on board because Bob Collins is moving off the editor's desk to write full time for Bob's new column/blog/thingamajig is called News Cut, and will be showing up sometime in the next few weeks. We'll have more info about it when it's ready to launch.

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