Pioneer Press: Minneapolis? Never heard of it

Categories: Media
The Pioneer Press' coverage of the mayoral race in St. Paul has been peerless. Tim Nelson's thoughtful, thorough, tireless work has left few scraps for the rest of us media jackals to pick up. Saturday he came through with another nice piece, picking apart the phone work of the Chris Coleman and Randy Kelly campaigns. Nelson related this hilarious nugget from resident Kate O'Meara's outgoing voicemail message:


"Hi, if you are calling from the Kelly campaign, you're wasting your time, because we would write in our dog before we would vote for Kelly. If you're not, we apologize, because we have been forced to screen our calls because the Kelly campaign won't leave us alone."

I point this out, in part, because Nelson fully deserves the kudos. But also to contrast his work with the completely shoddy, token coverage the state's second largest daily newspaper has provided for the Minneapolis municipal races. Saturday's piece, by Beth Silver, suggesting that the contests across the river are pretty much dull and inconsequential, was particularly embarrassing.

The article ran on B3 at less than 800 words. This pretty much represents the totality of the paper's coverage of this year's Minneapolis electoral contests.

Silver manages a token mention of the Natalie Johnson Lee-Don Samuels race--arguably the most fascinating political contest in years as evidenced by Britt Robson's feature story about it. And she also manages to namecheck the other contest in which, owing to redistricting, incumbents are pitted against each other (Robert Lilligren-Dean Zimmerman). But Silver gives no sense of the intricacies--legal, political, and racial--of these races and completely ignores several other interesting showdowns in Minneapolis.

Not a word about Ward 2--one of the most diverse districts in the city, encompassing the U of M, a slice of downtown, and the West Bank--where redoubtable Green Party candidate Cam Gordon is pitted against DFL-backed neighborhood activist Cara Letofsky. No mention of Ward 13, where charismatic (some would say autocratic) former city council member Lisa McDonald faces off with former Progressive Minnesota executive director Betsy Hodges. And readers of the Pioneer Press learned nothing about Ward 8, a majority minority district where two white candidates have sparred over alleged campaign improprieties.

Granted the mayoral race might be dull, but overall this is one of the most fascinating political seasons in recent memory. A majority of the 13 city council races have generated some level of intrigue, while the park board contests are also competitive and contentious.

But apparently the editorial brass at the Pioneer Press has concluded that Minneapolis ranks just behind Woodbury in terms of editorial priorities. It's farcical for a daily newspaper charged with providing thorough coverage of Minnesota to virtually ignore the state's largest city. People in St. Paul--and even Woodbury and Apple Valley--are impacted daily by the goings on in Minneapolis. But you wouldn't know that by reading the Pioneer Press.


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