The promise of MinnPost.com

A new online source is set to step into the news void.

There hasn’t been much good news for the news business lately. With the out-of-town corporate ownership hacking away at the staffs of both the Pioneer Press and the Star Tribune to make up for lost advertising revenue, a lot of reporters are out of work. This is certainly unfortunate for them, but it might be even worse for our community as a whole, which according to some estimates has 100 fewer reporters and their professionally honed eyes and ears monitoring the Twin Cities since the buyouts began taking a heavy toll this spring.

Into this void steps a new online venture called MinnPost.com. Founded by former Star Tribune editor and later publisher Joel Kramer, the Web site will launch later this fall and hopes to offer the public a new place to find the hard-hitting, serious news that many feel is losing ground to fluff in both daily papers. What makes this different from other Web startups is that it will be reported and edited by professionals, rather than the gossips and political propagandists that populate the online “news” world.

MinnPost has assembled some of the most talented writers in the area, including many who have left other Twin Cities news outlets and whose names will be familiar to readers. Doug Grow, a former Star Tribune metro columnist, John Camp, a Pulitzer Prize-winner at the Pioneer Press and former City Pages staffers Britt Robson and Beth Hawkins have already signed up to contribute.

The Web site will operate as a nonprofit and has already raised $1.1 million in startup money. The site won’t have the content breadth of a daily paper, so ball scores and stock rates will have to be found elsewhere, but informed, serious reporting we see a dearth of today is where we hope MinnPost will make its mark.

News organizations are, in a way, public trusts, because we as citizens depend on them to spend the time analyzing and deciphering the day’s events for us. When the needs of corporate shareholders that dominate the world of print newspapers oppose the needs of the community for informed, quality reporting, the needs of the community lose out. We look forward to the contributions that MinnPost will make toward fixing this.