The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

MinnPost, Minnesota's fresh-faced news source, may make it to the Mac stands

By Tressa Versteeg

MinnPost, a new nonprofit, Minneapolis-based news source may soon become a permanent fixture in the Campus Center’s entry hall, joining the Pioneer Press, the New York Times, the Minnesota Daily and other publications that are free to Macalester students.Recently, Macalester College Student Government president Franz Meyer ’09 and vice president Brian Stephenson ’10 met with Dean of Students Jim Hoppe to discuss joining MinnPost’s program Partners in Print. The topic was also raised as a subject for discussion at the weekly MCSG meeting on Tuesday.

“If students seem to like the addition of this news source, and MCSG thinks so as well, then the partnership will be made official,” Stephenson said.

Partners in Print is an initiative on part of MinnPost in which participating organizations commit to printing ten or more copies of the MinnPost PDF edition themselves and distribute it for free to their customers or employees. Organizations that print more than 250 copies are allowed to feature their own message at the bottom of the front page. Eight locations in the Twin Cities currently participate in the program, including several downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul businesses, the Minneapolis Public Library, the Minneapolis Club and the University of Minnesota.

MinnPost officially debuted online and in PDF format Nov. 8, but the idea to bring the publication to campus came earlier. Joel Kramer, former editor, president and publisher for the Star Tribune and current MinnPost Editor and CEO, founded MinnPost in response to a wave of Minnesota journalists being laid off because of a general decline of profits in the print news industry.

“[I had] a lot of concern that there isn’t such a commitment to quality journalism that there used to be,” Kramer said. “Our goal is to provide high quality journalism to the Twin Cities that is sustainable and takes advantage of the potential of the web but committed to traditional values of quality journalism of accuracy and fairness, and a commitment to the power journalism has to democracy, community and quality of life.”

According to Kramer, MinnPost tries to take on a newsmagazine feel. The publication isn’t meant to be a substitute for other newspapers. Instead, stories and blogs work to supplement local dailies. The site takes on a more casual tone than print dailies because MinnPost tries to grant its writers the freedom to express their own views, he said.

“We can’t cover every story,” Kramer said. “We don’t cover the major stories. We aren’t trying to replace the Star Tribune or Pioneer Press. We are trying to compliment and supplement them.”

Most of MinnPost’s writers are former Pioneer Press, Star Tribune and City Pages employees who are “very jazzed up about working for us,” Kramer said. “They are writing extremely good stuff. Some [of the writers] say it’s the best work of their life.”

But there are challenges in MinnPost’s future, according to Kramer. One of these is building an audience large enough to keep the publication going. Currently, the web site and paper are meeting their readership goals, but MinnPost will have to increase the number of readers to secure a future, Kramer said. Each day, 2,000 print copies are distributed and 1,000 copies are downloaded online, reaching some 5,000 readers.

Funding is also a hurdle for the nonprofit publication. The project began with funding from contributors like Kramer, as well as the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, a Miami-based organization focused on promoting excellence in journalism. Currently, advertisements and donations from 480 MinnPost members and readers have kept the web site and paper going. Membership costs $10 for student and $50 for everyone else.

Doug Stone, Director of College Relations and a former Star Tribune reporter, is a freelance writer for MinnPost. Stone writes once a week in the MinnPost.World section that discusses global issues in an “interpretive way,” Kramer said.

“It gives me a chance to spread my wings,” Stone said. Like many writers, he supports the paper through monetary contributions as well.

“I think it’s a great idea to have an online, local newspaper that is thoughtful and well-written; it may be the way of the future for daily journalism,” Stone said.

“I think that MinnPost is good for students because it gives them another voice to hear. It’s a different kind of paper. It’s behind the news, behind the headlines. That’s what I like about it. It’s a supplement to daily papers.It’s the MPR of the Internet really.

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