Minnesota Independent editors talk site shutdown

Categories: Media is dead
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Minnesota Independent editor Jon Collins was laid off yesterday.
The Minnesota Independent is shutting down, according to its editor and the company's CEO.

Jon Collins took the job as site editor earlier this summer but was laid off yesterday around noon, Collins confirmed to City Pages. The move came as a bit of a surprise to Collins, who thought the site was doing well.

"The Independent's been around for quite a while, five or six years; a lot of awesome reporters have gone through it," Collins said. "I kind of thought it would be around for a little bit longer, but what can you do?"

The site was "one of the more successful" sites in the American Independent News Network, Collins said, in terms of page views and good journalism.

"Andy Birkey, who I worked with, is one of the best LGBT reporters in the country," Collins said. "He's really, really good. He gets lots of what the American Independent refers to as 'impact.'"

Minnesota Independent's parent company CEO announced in a post on the website that MN Indy was closing down as part of a strategic shift toward unspecified "new forms of journalism" that'll be available at AmericanIndependent.com.

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David S. Bennahum announced the closing of Minnesota Independent yesterday.
"This is part of a shift in strategy, towards new forms of journalism made available as technology has advanced, and an increasing emphasis on national coverage and issue-based coverage from our network," wrote David S. Bennahum, CEO and founder of the American Independent News Network.

Bennahum's posting rankled some former staff members.

Former editor Paul Schmelzer points out the post doesn't address the report, first published by MinnPost's David Brauer, that the network has been sold to Media Matters.

Schmelzer told City Pages he hopes Minnesotans remember that a number of great journalists went through Minnesota Independent and added, "Somebody good should hire Jon Collins and Andy Birkey."

Despite being laid off, Collins expects to continue working in media.

"I'm going to collect as many consolation drinks as I can, then look for another job in journalism," Collins said.


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20 comments
Nachman
Nachman

I have nothing to convince you of, Mr. Gisleson. You're a vile, obscene, gutter anti-Semite.

Now go on and have the last word. Knock your self out.

Nachman
Nachman

I will theorize that Mr. Gisleson has not sat through a reading of the Haggadah during Passover. He still has a lot to learn.

Jews have been saying "Next year in Yerushalayim" for quite some time. It's not *if* the Jews will return to Israel, it's *when* and *how*.

Nachman
Nachman

You appear to reserve a special hatred for the only Jewish country on this planet, Mr. Gisleson. Is there a reason for this special hatred of yours?

Nachman
Nachman

Speaking of libel, Mr. Gisleson, does this libelous diatribe sound familiar?

"F**k Israel. F**k their racist, Arab-hating, religiously encrusted asses for yet another unprovoked terrorist attack on people trying to provide humanitarian aid. ISRAEL IS THE SOUTH AFRICA OF THIS GENERATION. What are you doing to fight their racism and hatred? Judaism is one of the world’s great religions. Zionism is Hitler’s red-headed bastard."

IHW
IHW

Minnesota Independent Filmmaker:inharmswayfilm dot com Riverview Theater. Tonight.

Mark Gisleson
Mark Gisleson

Schmelzer, Birkey, Collins and others did a great job with not nearly enough money. Media Matters for America, on the other hand, is a great organization and would do well to hire Birkey and Collins (Schmelzer, apparently, has returned to his old job at The Walker).

The Minnesota Independent accomplished a lot with very few financial resources. It's unfortunate that their parent organization wasn't up to the task of keeping the funding in place. They had an impact, they did good work, and I'm sure more than one news org in town will be glad to see this competitor go out of business.

But the Minnesota Independent will live on, if only in the courts. Bradlee Dean's lawsuit against them is still in progress, and will be for so long as it takes the courts to instruct Mr. Dean that it is not libelous to quote someone accurately.

Mark Gisleson
Mark Gisleson

I have no desire to have the last word, although asking you to answer a last question will probably amount to the same thing.

How does my support for the Palestinian people make me anti-Semitic? Have you ever looked up the dictionary definition of Semite?

Mark Gisleson
Mark Gisleson

Nachman, do tell. What do I need to learn? And again I ask you: do you know the difference between Judaism and Zionism? So far it would seem you do not, or at least are not willing to articulate your understanding of these labels. As for the Haggadah, I am familiar with it, but again as I do not know which branch of Judaism you're coming from (I could guess, but that would be rude), I don't know what the Haggadah means to you, Zionists having hijacked so much of Judaism, rewriting their faith for reasons of convenience just like some evangelicals do.

John I
John I

Ya know Nachman, hiding behind anonymity does not help your arguments.  It makes you seem like the tin foil is a little tight.  Man up and use your real name.

Mark Gisleson
Mark Gisleson

You appear to be incapable of reading what people actually write. I love New York City, the largest Jewish city on earth (lifelong Yankees fan). I lived with a Jewish woman for many years. I've sat through services at Temples and have nothing but the highest respect for Jewish culture. What does any of that have to do with Zionism?

Because I am not a Jew, you cannot bully me the way you bully the majority of American Jews who understand that something's terribly wrong with Israel, from their intolerance of gays to their outright hatred of Arabs.

Gaza should be a Palestinian state, not a refugee camp still controlled in every meaningful way by Israel over 40 years after the war. Set the Palestianians free, and then marvel at how quickly global opposition to Israel fades away.

You are your own worst enemy. Saying that hating Zionism = hating Jews is like saying that hating Republicans = hating America. Your logic is impenetrably flawed, and half of all Jews who read my remarks will be inclined to agree, but will dare not comment thanks to the rabid intolerance of the Zionists who would rather beat up their own than convert a goyim.

Oh, and I used to do a lot of blogging about the Rubashkins and their filth factory down in Postville. I don't suppose that's part of this, is it?

Mark Gisleson
Mark Gisleson

1) What's libelous about it?

2) Why are you trying to hijack this thread which is about the Minnesota Independent? You can comment about my blog at my blog, that's what the comments there are for.

Nachman
Nachman

I'm Jewish, an ethical monotheist. That should answer your question - unless you were expecting Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, Reconstructionist, et. al. 

You have an abysmally pathetic level of ignorance concerning Judaism. It is quite possible that "maybe [you are] full of sh*t". 

This "discussion" is as useful as trying to teach a cow to sing. It wastes my time, and annoys the cow. Until we meet again, you gutter anti-Semite. It's been a real laugh riot.

Nachman
Nachman

Nachman (pronounced "Nakhman") is my actual Hebrew name. 

Nachman
Nachman

You are a *real* piece of work, Mr. Gisleson. 

Don't quit your day job. :-D

Nachman
Nachman

This concerns your credibility, Mr. Gisleson, and for your gutter anti-Semitism. It is ironic that you should argue that truth is a defense to libel, as you have committed libel against Israel and the Jews, and your profane libel can easily be destroyed by the truth.

Mark Gisleson
Mark Gisleson

"I'm Jewish, an ethical monotheist....Until we meet again, you gutter anti-Semite. It's been a real laugh riot."

Nothing funny about any of this. It's sad to see how one of the world's ORs (Original Religions) gets swept up in a generational cycle of abuse. Your grandparents were killed by the Nazis so your generation will kill Palestinians to prove how tough you are. Uzi's are not morally superior to ovens. You don't have a clue what the word "ethical" means.

Mark Gisleson
Mark Gisleson

You know, maybe I am full of shit. I'm not Jewish, just well read. Why don't you explain the difference between Judaism and Zionism to me? Should I be attributing Israeli homophobia to Judaism instead of Zionism? Is it the Jewish religion that is oppressing Gaza, and not the militant Zionists?

I've never discussed these matters in public forums without taking pains to distinguish between Judaism and Zionism. There is a difference, you know, or don't you?

Mark Gisleson
Mark Gisleson

Then why don't you leave a comment at the blog where that copy appeared?

Opposing Israel while supporting Judaism is obviously not anti-Semitic, not unless your version of Judaism includes mandatory Arab-bashing. That post was written in response to the IDF illegally stopping an aid convoy in international waters, and speaks to Zionist war crimes and the hideous reality of keeping Palestinians locked up in a refugee camp for over forty years.

Where's the libel in that?

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