The UpTake in hot water at the Capitol

Devin Henry

Two Minnesota news organizations are upset over The UpTake renting space alongside them in the basement of the Capitol.

Politics in Minnesota reports that an editor from the Rochester Post-Bulletin sent an e-mail to the Commissioner of Administration at the Capitol complaining that The UpTake, a citizen journalism news organization, undermines the reputations of long-time, nonpartisan tenants of the Capitol press corps.

“The media we represent are very different than The UpTake and we hope you will address our concerns by not allowing them to lease space in our current office or within the current press corps complex," Mike Dougherty of the Rochester Post-Bulletin wrote. "We believe our concerns are shared by other news media organizations."

Indeed, they are. Twin Cities Public Television’s Mary LaHammer said the network is worried about The UpTake – or other partisan organizations – using TPT resources because of its nonprofit status, according to PIM.

The UpTake told PIM that they don’t want to go into details about their relationship with other media, but said there are objections from other organizations.

UpTake staffers don’t hide their political affiliations on their Web site bios. Its executive producer is a fill-in host for Air America Minnesota radio. One of its co-founders worked on campaigns for Democrats Keith Ellison and John Edwards. Its DC correspondent has an "anti-Iraq War and environmental activism" background.

And its intern, Erin Maye, has drawn the ire of Minnesota Republicans over tweets she’s sent out while on the job.

The UpTake gained some fame for its coverage of the U.S. Senate recount between Norm Coleman and Al Franken. The organization ran into some opposition from the Coleman campaign near the end of the ordeal.

As for this spat, the Administration department says The UpTake is an accredited member of the media, and therefore able to rent space in the Capitol basement, according to PIM.

But, the department said it will review its press crops policies, and the head of the Minnesota Capitol Press Association, Pioneer Press reporter Bill Salisbury, will meet with all the parties soon to discuss the matter.