Pioneer Press editor blasts Star Tribune writer for suggesting PiPress boycott

Categories: Media beefs
Clonts (left) wasn't happy with Covert (right) after he suggested PiPress readers should cancel their subscriptions.
In the wake of Pioneer Press editors publishing a Vote Yes editorial on Saturday -- a move that prompted Vikings punter and outspoken gay marriage advocate Chris Kluwe to immediately quit blogging for the paper -- Star Tribune film critic Colin Covert took to Twitter and told his followers, "If you like to vote with your dollars, cancel your subscription to the Pioneer Press. (651) 222-1111 or"

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The tweet outraged Pioneer Press managing editor Chris Clonts, who replied to Covert, "The journalists of the [Pioneer Press] thank you for your classy support." Clonts, who himself tweeted over the weekend that his paper's controversial marriage amendment editorial "in no way represents the newsroom or [individual journalists," went as far as sending an email to Star Tribune editor Nancy Barnes and deputy managing editor Rene Sanchez to alert them about Covert's tweet.

Jim Romenesko obtained the email Clonts sent to the Strib's editors, and another he sent to his own newsroom. Here they are, with the Strib email at the bottom.
From: Clonts, Chris
Sent: Tue 11/6/2012 12:16 AM
To: All News
Subject: FW: Classy: Colin Covert encouraging Pioneer Press cancelations

Folks: Some of you have pointed out this evening what is a new candidate for low point of Twin CIties newspaper competition. Colin Covert, our industry colleague and movie critic at the Star Tribune, took to Twitter to encourage people to cancel their Pioneer Press subscriptions.

I play as hard as anybody when it comes to tweaking our competitors. But we at the Pioneer Press choose to win subscribers, not kill them for the other team. I'm appalled someone would do this to fellow journalists, especially since he well knows the newsroom did not generate the opinion he's upset with. I sent the email below to Star Tribune leadership.

Please, please do not begin an "all news" reply fest on Election Day. I'm happy to hear from anyone, but email me directly or stop by.


---Original Message---
From: Clonts, Chris
Sent: Mon 11/5/2012 11:55 PM
Subject: Classy: Colin Covert encouraging Pioneer Press cancelations

Nancy, Rene:

I'd like to respectfully call your attention to the following tweet from Colin Covert. He posted it tonight around 8:30 p.m.

Colin Covert @colincovert
If you like to vote with your dollars, cancel your subscription to the Pioneer Press. (651) 222-1111 or

It has been retweeted multiple times by his followers.

I guess he, like lots of folks, is upset with our editorial board's Saturday editorial on the marriage amendment and the follow-up that ran earlier today.

He's entitled to his opinion, of course. And this is a heated political season. But encouraging people to cancel subscriptions is far below the kind of dignified discourse I and others can normally expect from the Star Tribune and its representatives.

I'm not asking for any kind of response. Just wanted you to be aware of this.

I appreciate your time.


Chris Clonts
Managing Editor | Pioneer Press
This morning, Clonts told Romenesko that "I received -- and very much appreciate -- a genuine note from Rene this morning acknowledging the situation. Sincerely hoping the rest of the day (week? year?) we can all get back to journalism."

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