MinnPost.com to Launch Later This Year with Partial Funding from Knight Foundation

MinnPost.com — an Internet-based daily providing news and insight for Twin Cities and Minnesota readers — will launch later this year.

Joel Kramer, CEO and editor, announced that he has raised $1.1 million in startup funds for the nonprofit enterprise. Four local families have contributed a combined $850,000, and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, based in Miami, announced a donation of $250,000.

"Communities need news every way they can get it," said Eric Newton, vice president of Knight Foundation’s journalism program“What makes this experiment interesting are its nonprofit model and the willingness of such a broad spectrum of the community to give money and time to this effort.”

MinnPost.com will offer exclusive front-page news stories as well as "posts," a new format in which professional journalists engage in an informal conversation with readers about what they're learning and what to make of itPosts will be a bit like blogs, but unlike many blogs, they will be built around original reporting — not just opinions or links to other people’s work.

MinnPost.com, which will publish Monday through Friday, also will offer daily roundups providing perspective on metro, state, national and international news, stories from selected content partners (currently under discussion), commentary from community leaders and experts, and comment from and involvement of readersMinnPost.com will be nonpartisan, and all opinion pieces will be signed.

More than 20 Twin Cities journalists, including Pulitzer Prize-winning Pioneer Press reporter and best-selling novelist John Camp, and former Star Tribune columnist Doug Grow, have already committed to contributing regularly to MinnPost.com, according to managing editor Roger Buoen, former deputy managing editor of the Star Tribune.

In addition to Kramer and Buoen, MinnPost editors will be Corey Anderson, web editor, who was online managing editor of City Pages; Don Effenberger and Casey Selix, news editors, both formerly editors at the Pioneer Press; and Beth Thibodeau, MinnPost in Print editor, formerly an editor at the Star Tribune.

MinnPost.com is all about substantive news for Minnesotans who are intensely interested in the world around them and want more insight and analysis than they’re getting from their media choices today,” said Kramer, who served as editor of the Star Tribune in the 1980s and as publisher and president in the 1990s “It will combine the best of traditional journalism with new forms of newsgathering and storytelling made possible by the Internet MinnPost.com will emphasize original, high-quality content five days a week, plus carefully chosen work from other sourcesYou can read it online, or in a printable newspaper format, MinnPost in Print

The 25 journalists who have agreed so far to contribute to MinnPost are:    

  • Judy Arginteanu, a former editor and reporter for the Pioneer Press and Star Tribune, will report about the arts and other topics.
  • Brady Averill, who has covered the Minnesota congressional delegation for the Star Tribune, will write about a variety of topics.
  • Dave Beal, a former business editor and columnist for the Pioneer Press, will write about business and the economy.
  • Steve Berg, who has worked as a Washington Bureau reporter, national correspondent and editorial writer for the Star Tribune, will report on urban design, transportation and national politics.
  • Judith Yates Borger, who has written for The New York Times, Star Tribune and Pioneer Press, will report on legal affairs, science and other subjects.
  • Cynthia Boyd, a former reporter and columnist for the Pioneer Press, will write on education, health, social issues and other topics         
  • David Brauer, Minnesota Public Radio’s media analyst, local magazine writer, former City Pages reporter and Southwest (Mpls) Journal editor, will cover media, Minneapolis City Hall and Hennepin County politics.
  • John Camp is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and best-selling novelist who writes under the pen name John SandfordHe won a Pulitzer in 1986 for a series of stories in the Pioneer Press – collectively titled “Life on the Land: An American Farm Family” – about a Minnesota farm family’s struggles during the Midwest farm crisisHe was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 1980 for a series of articles on Native American cultureHe is also well known for numerous popular detective novels and thrillersHe will report and write on a variety of topics.
  • Steve Date, a teacher and photographer working on a documentary film about a West Virginia coal mining town, will do video blogs on a variety of topics
  • Delma Francis, who has worked as an editor or reporter at the Lexington Herald, Courier-Journal and Louisville Times, Hartford Courant, Richmond Times-Dispatch and Star Tribune, will report on education, health care and other topics.
  • Doug Grow, a former sports columnist for the Minneapolis Star and metro columnist for the Star Tribune, will write about public affairs, state politics and other topics.
  • Kay Harvey, a former reporter and editor for the Pioneer Press, will report on aging, demographics, gender and psychology.
  • Beth Hawkins, former reporter and editor for City Pages, will write about criminal justice, schools and other topics.
  • David Hawley, a former arts critic and reporter at the Pioneer Press and author of a half-dozen plays and two nonfiction books, will write about the arts and other subjects
  • Chris Ison, an assistant professor at the University of Minnesota School of Journalism and Mass Communication, former editor and reporter at the Star Tribune and winner of a Pulitzer Prize in 1990 for articles about a string of arsons in StPaul, will write occasionally on a variety of topics.
  • Sarah Janecek, publisher of Politics In Minnesota, will write about public affairs and politics.
  • Joe Kimball, a former columnist and reporter for the Star Tribune, will report on StPaul City Hall and Ramsey County politics.
  • Linda Mack, who formerly wrote about architecture for the Star Tribune, will cover architecture.
  • Mike Mosedale, who has written for City Pages and newspapers in Connecticut, Wisconsin and California, will report on the environment, Indian affairs and other topics.
  • Greg Patterson, former reporter for the Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe and Star Tribune, will report on race and diversity and business-related topics.
  • Steve Scott, formerly religion editor and writer for the StPaul Pioneer Press and a past visiting scholar in religion journalism at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, will cover religion.
  • Casey Selix, former assistant business editor and reporter for the StPaul Pioneer Press, will write about nonprofits, the arts, women and other topics
  • Carla Solberg, who has written for Minneapolis/StPaul Business, Twin Cities Business and Upsize Business, will report on local business developments, the health care industry and other topics.
  • Jay Weiner, who has covered sports and other topics for the Star Tribune, will report on sports and public policy, outdoors and the environment, and religion.
  • Bob Whereatt, former political reporter for the Star Tribune, will write about public affairs and state government.

Some of these journalists will do regular posts, some will write front-page stories, and some will do bothAdditional contributors are expected to be named later.

“This is a tough time for newspapers,” Kramer said“Declining advertising revenue has led to substantial cuts in staff and news space, and serious, ambitious news coverage has sufferedBut this creates a real opportunity, too, because so many outstanding journalists have left Twin Cities newspapers, and they and a variety of talented freelancers are eager to bring their talents and experience to MinnPost”

In addition to the web site, MinnPost in Print will be a quick but thoughtful daily newspaper published Monday through Friday in 8.5 x 11 format, printable on home and office computers and expected to be available in high-traffic locations over the lunch hour.

MinnPost has raised $850,000 in startup donations so far from four couples – Sage and John Cowles, Vicki and David Cox, Laurie and Joel Kramer, and Terry Saario and Lee Lynch.

Lee Lynch has been elected first chair of the board of MinnPostOther board members are John Cowles; David Cox; Joel Kramer; Kathleen Hansen, professor of journalism at the University of Minnesota and director of the Minnesota Journalism Center; John Satorius, an attorney with Frederikson & Byron; and Patrick Irestone, CEO of Meritide, a software firm in Roseville.

Kramer said he will seek additional foundation support to help finance MinnPost’s early years, but that the plan is to become self-sufficient eventually, based on two main revenue sources:  sponsorship/advertising and member donations“We believe a lot of Minnesotans will support this kind of high-quality journalism,” Kramer saidHe invited people to visit the web site, www.MinnPost.com, to learn more and keep up with progress toward the launch.

MinnPost is currently looking to hire a leader for the business side of the organization and a sponsorship/advertising director, Kramer said.

The MinnPost.com web site is being developed by Clockwork, a firm in Northeast MinneapolisMinnPost’s office will be in Southeast Minneapolis.

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit www.knightfoundation.org.