Dennis Interview Please take one minute to evaluate our website. Click here to take the survey.
Minnesota has undergone some discouraging trends since the 1973 cover story in TIME magazine declared Minnesota a "state that works," according to Tom Dennis of the Grand Forks Herald. He points to a 1996 New York Times story branding Minneapolis as "Murderapolis," to the budget turmoil and special partisanship in the 2000s and to a 2004 report by the University of Minnesota's Humphrey School that concluded Minnesotans believe government is wasteful and public programs are not well run.
But Dennis is cautiously optimistic. He believes discouraging trends are subject to change. He calls Minnesota "a resilient place," where partisanship is moderating and where reassuring signs show that "all is not lost." He asserts that while Minnesota's status as a "state that works" is strained and not as secure as it once was, it's still somewhat intact. He says one of the state's great assets is the range of civic institutions struggling to resolve its problems. Also, government in Minnesota and North Dakota remains unusually responsive to public interest and public pressure.
Dennis contends that his newspaper's editorial page and its news pages continue to play a role in promoting public awareness and debate of issues before final decisions are made. The special projects the paper does that include deep reporting on an issue bring public attention and get policymakers moving. But the newspaper industry worries about the lack of young readers and is struggling with how to make money in the digital arena.
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The Civic Caucus is a non-partisan,
tax-exempt educational organization. The Interview Group
includes persons of varying political persuasions,
S. Adams, David Broden, Audrey Clay, Janis Clay, Pat Davies, Bill
Frenzel, Paul Gilje (Executive Director), Randy Johnson, Sallie Kemper, Ted
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