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 Response Page - Joel Kramer Interview - Media Coverage of Public Affairs   

These comments are responses to the questions listed below,
which were generated in regard to the
Joel Kramer interview of 03-21-08.

The questions:

1. _9.0 average___ On a scale of (0), not important, to (5), neutral, to (10), very
important, what is your feeling about the need for substantially better
coverage of public affairs information in the Twin Cities area and Minnesota?

2. _8.1 average___ On a scale of (0), most unlikely, to (5), neutral, to (10), most
likely, what is the likelihood that people increasingly will be turning to the
internet for better news and information?

3.__6.5 average___On a scale of (0), most undesirable, to (5), neutral, to (10), most
desirable, how do you feel about new media outlets being non-profit organizations?

4. _25 median____ Approximately how many times a month do you go online to a
Minnesota-based website (e.g. MinnPost,  Star Tribune,  MPR,   Pioneer Press,                                                                                            Daily Planet, KSTP-TV) for news?

John Farrell (10) (10) (10) (60)

Joe Mansky (10) (10) (5) (every day)

John Finnegan
(10) (5) (8) (25)
I only use the internet for additional information. I still get most of my news from the daily newspaper.

Don Fraser (9) (6) (7) (20-25)

Bright Dornblaser (10) (8) (10 (4)

Alan Miller (5) (4) (8) (30 or more)

Bob Brown (10) (5) (5) (5-10)
As to question 2 I think that many will be turning more to the internet for news, but I don't think it will be better information and it could be worse since there doesn't seem to be any quality control on the internet.

Lance Olson (10) (10) (5) (200)

Scott Halstead (10) (10) (10) (1)

Ann Berget (10) (6) (9) (30+)

David Hutcheson (9) (10) (9) (45)

A week or so ago, I listened to a panel discussion by Al Eisele, retired editor of The Hill,
Kitty Eisele, producer of the NPR morning show, Nick Coleman, Star Tribune columnist, and Nick Hayes, professor at St John's and MPR contributor, on this very subject. The contrast in optimism and work satisfaction between public radio (high) and commercial newspaper (low) could not have been more stark. Joel Kramer mentions a figure of 15 to 20 percent of the public who want serious news coverage. That seems a fair estimate. I believe that what has happened in the past several years is that the business side of for-profit news organizations has become more and more sophisticated in measuring relationships between content and end outcomes of advertising, and have gradually moved to aim content at the readers/listeners/viewers who are most likely to actually have their purchases be influenced by advertising. In other words, the more the
potential news consumer tends to be a critical thinker, the less desirable he/she is as a consumer; and the art of making these evaluations and acting on them is becoming progressively more highly developed. I think the philanthropic support model is the logical way to go; I think Joel Kramer is exactly right to pursue it; and shame on MPR for withholding reasonable support.

Lyall Schwarzkopf (8) (6) (5) (0)

John Rollwagen (10) (10 (5) (20-30)
It does appear that the non-profit model produces the least biased reporting.

Paul and Ruth Hauge (9) (7) (5) (4)

Eric Schubert (10) (12) (10) (60)

1. Very Important. Too much important stuff is happening to go backwards. Also, so many special interests have budgets to be "their own media" and slant information; need a view that's not bought and paid for by special interest or front group money.

2. That train left the station a long time ago.

3. I'd love it. I like the non-profit model of the St. Petersburg Times.

Clarence Shallbetter (9) (4) (5) (4)
The internet may provide specialists or those trying to keep up with news in their field with specific information but there is a question about how much it can or will be used to inform and educate the general public. How many browse the internet to be informed citizens? People are just as likely to skip the news if the primary source for news is the internet. It would be interesting to learn what portion of the internet "newspaper" people tend to read and how much time they spend reading it. How does this compare with reading the newspaper?

Wayne Jennings (8) (7) (8) (2)

Pam Ellison (10) (10) (10) (10-50)

Keith Swensen (10) (10) (0) (10)

Dennis Johnson (5) (9) (0) (0)
Will give it a try, mainly to see if it is truly free of bias, or just another liberal-slant site. Polls show that about 90 per cent of all journalists are liberals, therefore the odds of an even-handed paper are very slim. Also, if it is fulfilling a real need, it should not have to be non-profit and should not require a subsidy, certainly not a public subsidy.

Chuck Slocum (10) (10) (5) (daily and with multiple sources (4-8) of online info)

Bob White (10) (8) (9) (5)
Biggest disappointment lately is the end of ties between MinnPost and MPR.

Tim McDonald (10) (10) (5) (every day)
Something else Grogan has mentioned is the influence the Boston Globe has had on pushing public affairs issues in that city--due in large part to the depth and consistency of its coverage. This new online, freelance format may offer a reinvention of that model which has been on the decline.

Elaine Voss (10) (8.5) (___) (20)

Gary Clements (8) (5) (9) (7)
It seems to me there is a really mixed advantage to online news. I can read the local Minnesota paper when I am here in Arizona, and keep up with area news I want. But my experience with online sources so far is that they are not nearly as browse-able in a friendly way as is a newspaper, so most of my use is very targeted, where with a newspaper, I get broader information, can pick and choose what I want to read completely more easily, and I can carry it into the other room, set it down for a phone call, and it doesn't turn off. I hope we truly aren't seeing the demise of the paper in print.

Peter Hennessey (10) (1.5) (0) (___)
1. 10. Yes it would be a major change if we got NEWS instead of sleaze and biased opinions.

2. 1 or 2 (very low). The internet is great at letting you hyper focus on items of interest to you, but you have to really work it to get better coverage of news than you get in the traditional media. It is still much, much faster to scan a newspaper in printed form than on a computer screen, and thereby get a much better sense for all total news, but I guess I am old-fashioned.

3. ZERO. What is wrong with profit and how is that relevant? If the service cannot pay for itself, then it must feed off some other profit-making enterprise, i.e., it is a parasite. People engaged in the news business are not, cannot see themselves as, and cannot behave as parasites, but must see themselves as legitimate businessmen who are bringing to the market a product that is perceived to be valuable enough so people will gladly pay for it. In the media the most immediate source or revenue is advertising, which is based on circulation volume or ratings (which is why it is such a sore point with "liberals" that they are such total failures in radio, losing viewer ship in TV, and losing circulation in print media). Yet people are also willing to pay subscriptions fees for magazines and other media (such as print or on-line newsletters).

4. Of course I never go on-line specifically for MN-only news. Wow! You got a website called the Daily Planet?

David Broden (10) (10) (6) (30-plus)

There is a clear and definite need to add depth of understanding of public affairs in the Twin Cities and of Minnesota. Recent coverage in the media is very shallow--shows a lack of understanding of the leadership Minnesota has had in public affairs across the nation in both governmental issues and in public/private activities. This seems to relate to lack of basic understanding and perhaps a sense that the public only want to hear the bottom line without understanding and having the opportunity to impact the issue. We in Minnesota will engage if we have the info.

As I meet with friends and business associates locally and across the nation the topic rapidly flows to what we have read ---we all seem to refer to what we read on line on some paper or blog, podcast etc--comment are frequently that "I will go on line when I get home and check that out." If in a coffee shop with a laptop it happens in real time
--that real time link is one of the real hooks.

Moving to non-profits is fine and may be the best way to maintain quality. I just would like the decision to be made by the users --let the market decide. I will use and refer to non-profits

It has become a daily and sometimes multiple times per day event.

Ward Ring (10) (10) (5) (10)

Jim Weaver (5) (10) (5) (10)

Malcolm McDonald (10) (10) (10) (daily)

Ray Ayotte (5) (8) (7) (1)



The Civic Caucus   is a non-partisan, tax-exempt educational organization.   The Core participants include persons of varying political persuasions, reflecting years of leadership in politics and business. Click here  to see a short personal background of each.

   Verne C. Johnson, chair;  Lee Canning,  Charles Clay, Bill Frenzel, 
Paul Gilje,  Jim Hetland,  John Mooty,  Jim Olson,  Wayne Popham  and  John Rollwagen.  

The Civic Caucus, 01-01-2008
8301 Creekside Circle #920,   Bloomington, MN 55437.
Verne C. Johnson, chair, 952-835-4549,       Paul A. Gilje, coordinator, 952-890-5220.

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