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no arts and entertainment reporter for you!


See the story Andy Greder wrote today about layoffs at the Duluth News Tribune. Which doesn't name most of the laid-off, including me. I don't know why. There's been a persistent aura of secrecy and "security" around all the layoffs, which perplexes me. Something about some alien North Dakota ideology?

As of yesterday, no more arts and entertainment reporter on the News Tribune. On the same day Andrea Buck (managing editor), Karen Kiekow (best damn page designer I've ever worked with), Bente on the copy desk, Steve Weegman, Ryan Stutzman, Tracy Colquist , and one other part-time writer were also cut.

There are still great journalists working at the paper, but it does seem that as whole beats are cut (like the arts) the paper will serve fewer and fewer people. A death spiral seems imminent--particularly if there are more cuts, which certainly haven't been ruled out.

At this point I don't think the current on-site administrators of the paper could change their minds and keep a regular position for an arts reporter, but it can't hurt to bitch. Time rolls on, and if people write letters to the editor, there at least will be some consciousness that the beat matters here.

I have been at least tentatively asked to write the occasional freelance piece for them, which I agreed to do, but now I'm not so sure--will it give the impression that the beat is being covered, when it's not? There's no substitute for someone sitting in the newsroom 40 hours a week getting your pr and talking to you all.

that said, I will still be writing--for other venues, and maybe for the paper as well. So do keep sending me your info and calling--my home email is [email protected] and my cell phone is 393-9149.

love and thanks to you all!
ann k


Shame on Forum and the DNT. Did you have a notion this move was coming?

I left the DNT [oh and I'm not a reporter] right before cuts began the last time and I can't tell you how much better I am for it.

The secrecy there is enough to drive even the most mellow person nuts! At the same time it's addicting. I still contact my DNT insider for all of the latest gossip. Do you think they have a patch for that?

Stupid move on the part of the DNT. Arts & Entertainment is one of the key beats in Duluth -- it's one of the key amenities of the city is its art scene. How will this affect "The Wave?"

On the other hand, this is a GREAT opportunity for Duluth's alternative press -- everything from the Reader to the Transistor & all in between -- to pick up the slack and really work the streets. Good for the small timers ad revenues too!

This is a sad day for Duluth. Ann, you've consistently brought the best, most insightful coverage the Trib has ever offered. Why don't they just ash can the Budgeteer? The Wave is probably going to turn into a cross between People and Parade.....

As a long-time DNT subscriber, I'm beginning to wonder why I'm doing so. This is awful!

There is less and less reason to continue to subscribe.

Sorry to hear that Ann. And sorry to hear about Bente and the others too.
I agree, it seems like a death spiral - those sound like pretty drastic to-the-bone cuts. It's not like it's ever going to get any easier or cheaper to run a print-based business so they can hire those positions back.

Ann -- there's nothing I can say that the five other posters above have already said. You were a damn good arts & entertainment reporter, who understood the Duluth scene in all its multifaceted arts glory. I am really upset that they laid you off, and I do hope the alternative press in Duluth picks up the slack. Duluth is a cool city, like the t-shirt says, and not having the DNT get the word out about all the amazing things musicians, artists and the literati are doing here is a blow to our entire community. Good luck with your future endeavors.

Ann, I agree with Tim, your take on local arts was refreshing and as quirky as ... er...local arts are. Thanks for all your work and persistence! Move quickly away from the death throws and come back into the light. We of Tangier 57 owe you a perfectini. BTW .... I'm gonna say it only once... RIPSAW! RIPSAW! RIPSAW!

They got rid of Taste? That was one of my favorite things! As a person who consumes food on a regular basis, I am outraged!

I wanted to add, no wonder I didn't get a response for my recipe email. Grr.

My dad worked there for 30 years and my stepma still does. I tried THREE times to RENEW my subscription there this spring and they kept cancelling me! I tried to give them my money and they wouldn't take it!!! How idiotic do you need to be, to be in business for 100 years and not be able to renew a delivery subscription?

They'll cut and cut and cut, but you can bet they'll hang onto Grandma's Brag Book until the bitter end.

Anne, we'll miss your reporting without a doubt. Like Chester Dark I'm also wondering why I would want to keep my subscription. Weird. I have subscribed to the local paper wherever I've lived for most of my adult life.

Worst change? Chuck Frederick as editorial page editor. Robin Washington had just helped us move beyond the traditional Duluther POV and now we're right back to it? Aughh!!!

I get what's happening to newspapers these days, but oh, it's sad. Thinking I might start subscribing to the Star Tribune and just check local info online.

Really glad I signed on for that cheap NYT Sunday subscription this summer.

Ann, we'll miss your reporting without a doubt. Like Chester Dark I'm also wondering why I would want to keep my subscription. Weird. I have subscribed to the local paper wherever I've lived for most of my adult life.

Worst change? Chuck Frederick as editorial page editor. Robin Washington had just helped us move beyond the traditional Duluther POV and now we're right back to it? Aughh!!!

I get what's happening to newspapers these days, but oh, it's sad. Thinking I might start subscribing to the Star Tribune and just check local info online.

Really glad I signed on for that cheap NYT Sunday subscription this summer.

For the record, once you hit post it's over. I hit stop while it was loading, but d'oh! it posted anyway! Sorry for the duplication.

It's so sad that Tamara is addicted to food. She probably uses food three times per day. How sad.

Vicarious, sometimes it's even more than that. I feel like I should be contacting Dr Wu or perhaps the Master of Puppets. I just can't resist anymore... I must succumb...

So what happens when all of the fresh faces recruited by the "Fresh Duluth" documentary arrive to find that the reporter who told them all about Duluth is having that not so fresh feeling? Collecting unemployment with her fingers crossed, that is. I hate that feeling.

What a loss to the arts community. Not only have we lost the best damned arts reporter we've EVER had, all artists and arts organizations will undoubtedly lose the public face they need. How ironic that just when the city is starting to wake up to the possibilities, the DNT makes use invisible.

Fear not.

Thank god for Adam. Now, we can depend on finding out about the arts with all the ads from Pizza Luce and the local "Irish Bars" when we read the Transistor.

Now you can pull that Transistor Button bullshit anywhere you want now Adam.

yup, without the Transistor, Localm, and Perfectduluthday; I would be completely out of touch in this big town...(big fish small pond syndrome Craig???)

yeah, dammit. what rex said...and adam's not a self righteous dick.

I'm also not slamming anyone who devotes time and effort to promote community, Idle hands are the tools of the Devil!!! Negative shit bums my scene... ;)

so in Saturday's paper, the head jerk guy writes that the Taste and Home and Garden sections have been eliminated because no one reads them and they can't get ads. Bullshit.

As for the Arts and Entertainment, after seeing this in PDD, I just realized why I rarely go to movies since I moved to Duluth....there are no movie reviews as there are in the Twin Cities. So I guess I'll no longer hear about other great entertainment opportunities either (other than at PDD).

This just sucks and I'm depressed for the first time since moving here 3 years ago.

Local newspapers are IMPORTANT for community health.

This makes no sense. Karwath says Taste and the Homes & Gardens sections were cut b/c of lack of ads. Well, why in the hell is the A & E reporter cut when there are lots of ads by arts and entertainment advertisers in the paper? Look at all the ads in the Wave. Jeez. The DNT seems a little too interested in sensationalistic stories about nothing no one cares about -- like that fake lawyer. Or Windchill the horse. And then they wonder why revenues are dropping. And I can't even complain yet, b/c the damn paper ran a letter I wrote a month ago and so I can't get one in for the next month. I'm really depressed, Ann was the best damn reporter on that beat since Dominic Papotola back in the mid-'90s.

Dominic didn't hold a candle to Ann's work. She's the best the paper has ever had. Better than Shefchek, better than Aschemacher (the elder), better than JP Furst and better than Papatola. She has covered the arts in an intelligent, informative manner with no sense of her own ego getting in the way. I'm guessing Karwath doesn't really get art or the arts community. I personally recommend that all arts organizations quit buying ad space 'till they hire her back and make a commitment to covering the arts. In the meanwhile, let's use the alt media to get the word out on upcoming events and shows and do your part by actually going out to see stuff!

don't feel bad berv, i couldn't get them to take my money either.
i even gave them my credit card # on two separate occasions, and still nothin'.

I'm not happy about arts and food being cut, or that (I don't think) they've even told us yet they've cut arts, or that they claim they'll be listening to what we say and then don't even provide a question for comments on it.

But saying no one cares about the sensationalistic stories is completely wrong. Check the most popular stories on their website--it's always the crime and sex stuff. And the horse story was getting national press and comments.

What concerns me is the connection between how informed people are and how they participate in their community. PDD and the Reader do a good job of keeping me up-to-date on places to eat, play, drink and be entertained. But I am also a newspaper addict so I'm afraid I'll miss out on a bunch of stuff to do around town.

For instance, this past weekend was the Preservation Group's house tour - which I only found out about through the paper - in the "Home and Garden" section, mind you.

Karwath is just a huge bag of shit in his excuses for the cuts at the DNT. Cut the Sports page dammit. I don't read it.

You are right, Tim K. Dominic was entertaining in a "I can't believe he's so damn snarky when reviewing community theatre!" way, but Ann did a much better job of focusing attention on the arts and entertainment, rather than on herself. I just can't get over this boneheaded move by the higher-ups at the paper. And we're all going to suffer for it, whether we're artists or arts lovers.

I don't understand calk's comment about the lawyer story. How is a story about a nationally renowned Duluth lawyer who turns out to be a criminal and a fraud NOT good journalism (or, to quote, "about nothing no one cares about")?

Ann, you will be missed. What is really funny is that my subscription runs out on Saturday. I am going to write a letter today saying why I have chosen not to renew my subscription. Please keep pdd updated on your new endeavors.

Craig, why the 'tude. It looks like you have a site to design and some stuff to do. Let your whatever the heck you do define you. Your unwarranted attacks on the transistor are just showing how small and jealous you are.

The transistor has filled a void that the ripsaw left. It is up-to-date and informative.

so, craig, what do you have? a shitty image on a shitty domain that is squatting for something that you may release sometime. weak sauce. weak weak.

In the case of the fraudulent lawyer, the sensational aspects of the story only make it a better story.

And then there was this other story in Saturday's paper, titled "Man Must Pay Ex-Girlfriend $100,000":

"She said the first time they had sex, she didn’t want to, but she was afraid of him. She said she had sex with him a second time at Goodman’s house where she went only to have a glass of wine. She said she was 'incredibly naive.' She said they had consensual sex after drinking wine and smoking marijuana together.

"The relationship ended, Sipper said, after Goodman became angry when she said something publicly that might have revealed their relationship together. She said Goodman then performed a rough sex act on her, which included him repeatedly biting her on both inner thighs. In his deposition, Goodman said that the sex was 'just normal' and 'nothing that we hadn’t done before.'"

We always seem to be skating on the edge of being able to afford the DNT or not. We've been in the "or not" column for the last few months again, but were on the verge of biting the bullet and re-subscribing. Now I don't know--on the one hand, I like seeing our 5 year-old in the habit of animatedly reading the newspaper at breakfast. But I was already skeptical about the amount of compelling local content. It feels like a huge mistake to me.

The Trib is apparently removing posts about Ann in their talk blogs.
You'll notice someone referring to comments by Claire K which are missing.....I smell a conspiracy!

OK, Barrett, I exaggerated, of course it's an important story. And so was Windchill's story. But jesus, I just feel like they go on and on about their pet issues sometimes (hey I do too, but then I don't do it on the clock). Robin W's editorial about all the times he ran into the fake lawyer, complete with emails from the guy, writing inoccuous things like "Can I be on the DNT readers panel?" Or the story about who would play the characters in the Windchill story if it was made into a movie. Barrett, I don't deny these are both interesting stories, I just feel like the DNT goes overboard sometimes, and ignores other stories that are just as important to me as a reader.

Tim K -- it is a *total* conspiracy! I made a reasoned, rational argument for why the DNT laying off their arts & entertainment reporter is a hot topic in the news for this community -- it sure is on this blog -- and I related it to the work the McKnight Fdn and the Duluth Superior Fdn have been doing, trying to raise the awareness of the importance of attracting the "creative class" to a city, and how it benefits a city in both tangible and intangible ways -- *and they deleted my post!* I then wrote a second posting asking what happened to my first post, and again made my argument for why this is important, how can a community attract the creative class to a city when the local media isn't doing their bit, but they didn't post my second post either. Oh well.

Did you guys know that the price of a Monday through Saturday paper is going up to 75 cents? Karwath somehow forgot to mention that in his latest column...

calk, the "who will play windchill in a movie" bit was on the Duluth Current blog. Not in the actual newspaper. Just to clarify.

If u want to know why she got letgo/fired ask the union.


I enjoyed the short time working with you (and the rest of the newsroom crew), but sensed that the walls were caving in a few months back.

I'm sorry to hear that the axe has fallen, and I wish the best of luck in your future ventures.

Hopefully the arts community in Duluth will survive, because that's about all that's left.

Take care!

It's refreshing to see that so many people actually do care about what goes on at their local newspaper. But, there is some misinformation in this thread that needs to be cleared up:

1. Contrary to the title of this thread and some of the comments, the DNT isn't cutting the arts beat. They are cutting a reporter who covered that beat. Someone else in the newsroom - or some combination of people - will take over that coverage. And while you're entitled to your opinions about the move, layoffs generally are done starting with the most recent hires - and wasn't Ann one of the newest reporters at the paper?

To be brutally honest, some of the others who were let go last week, - people who toiled for years behind the scenes - meant a hell of a lot more to the paper you see each day than Ann could ever hope to.

2. Someone took issue with the contention that Taste and Home & Garden were not being supported. It's sad to see them go, but the evidence has been in print in those sections for months. Go look at Taste from last week, and the week before, and the week before that. How many ads do you see? One? Two? None? You can't dispute that there were almost no ads in those sections. While papers try to please readers, it is advertisers who provide the vast majority of papers' financial support. If they won't buy ads in a section, that section is existing on borrowed time.

3. Tim K wrote, "I personally recommend that all arts organizations quit buying ad space 'till they hire her back and make a commitment to covering the arts." Oh, that makes a lot of sense. First of all, Ann Klefstad or not, the News Tribune offers more arts coverage than every other print and broadcast media source in the Twin Ports combined. I'd call that commitment to covering the arts. Second, trying to improve arts coverage by encouraging groups to stop buying ads? Yeesh. I think the inanity of that statement is pretty self-evident.

Last week's events were terrible. Be outraged. Raise your voice. Tell the powers that be what you think. But please, get your facts straight.

"pay no attention to the man behind the curtain...there is nothing to see here...Ann wasn't *that* important to us..."

dlhm, you speak of this as if you're someone "in the know" with what went down, and with the cold smugness of someone who really doesn't give a shit about what your readers think. The tone of your post does little to inspire, and frankly is a little insulting...not only to the people you're trying to school here, but to Ann as well.

It's known the DNT has been playing catch up with trying to get its finger on the goings on around Duluth's A&E community for years...the Wave itself was and is a blatant attempt to compete with the likes of the Ripsaw, Transistor and the rest of the more preeminent Arts dedicated publications.

Fact is, you're in trouble, you're losing readers which means you're losing revenue and you're panicked. In that panic, you laid off a few staff...one being a reporter who was passionate about what she was covering. I doubt you'll get the same amount of dedication from the poor sap who takes her place.

dlhm is correct that many others have been laid off or have left, seeing handwriting on the wall, who are great, dedicated writers, editors, designers--it's just that, I guess, they didn't post anything to PDD.

I have spent only one year as a fulltime employee of the DNT, but have spent a decade covering the arts in town, first freelance for DNT and then serving as editor for mnartists.org (where the whole state was the beat, but I made sure that my hometown Duluth was part of it). And I did see working at the paper as some kind of dream job--to finally make sure that our arts scene is known to people who live here, and who live in other cities too.

It's true that the paper says it will continue publishing the Wave, but I know how thinly staffed the newsroom now is; I have no idea how they can possibly cover the scene, take the time to talk to people, get educated as to what's going on and who's who. Every single reporter there now has a beat or two to cover already. Who's going to cover arts? I'm guessing it's going to be print-the-press-release. And they now have one assigning editor--one, where there were . . . 4?

With all the good will in the world, I just don't think it's possible to really cover the scene. It's likely possible to pretend to cover it, though. And that's what I wanted to prevent with this post: please do recognize that there simply will not be the staff time to do real coverage. So don't think, if coverage is thin, the art scene is thin. The artists and musicians and dancers are still there, still doing work. It'll just take a little more effort to find them.

Not a single ad in today's sports section of the DNT. I know, b/c I cracked it open, which is a rarity for me. The only reason I don't recycle that section right away is the TV listings.
What did dlhm write? "It is advertisers who provide the vast majority of papers' financial support. If they won't buy ads in a section, that section is existing on borrowed time." OK, then.
Sure the DNT will continue to cover a & e -- undoubtedly with interns, none of them knowing the people pitching them stories, and those of us pitching stories not knowing whom to pitch. It will make a difference, dlhm. So much of good reporting is about relationships, as well as that reporter's knowledge of what's happened before. You can only get that with one person covering a beat, not with a rotation of interns or a staffer who might have some time that day to cover a beat. I'm sorry the DNT doesn't understand that. That's part of why Ann K was such a good a & e reporter: she's lived here for years and already knew the arts community inside and out. Plus she's an excellent writer. Someone like her is not going to be easily replaced.

I didn't see any ads in today's business section either.

What a bunch of BS. Do they think we're idiots?

Hey DLHM, sounds like the DNT needs to fire someone in your advertising department.

Good lord, a bag of biscuits could do a better than is currently being done.

oh and one more small thing: I was careful to say, in the heading "no more arts and entertainment reporter" not "no more arts news."

And! I did report, in the original post, on the other firings and did take the trouble to find the names and give them to you. Unlike the DNT.

I don't think Tim K's suggestion for arts organizations to pull advertising in protest of the DNT laying off the a&e reporter is "inane," at all, as dlhm insists. Money talks -- esp. at a newspaper that's losing subscribers and revenue. Why do you think dlhm is giving us the paper's side -- because he or she *does not* wants arts groups to pull advertising. A similar thing happened at a publication I write for. A staffer on a pretty important beat was laid off, to cut costs. The rest of us -- stringers and staffers -- tried to cover the beat, but the fact that there wasn't one person who knew the area assigned to cover that beat pissed off the companies there. They complained. They pitched their stories first to the competition. They pulled their advertising. And guess what? Someone was hired to once again cover that beat. But the damage was done.

Yes money talks....if arts groups want pull advertising, the DNT would take notice. They'll also take notice when I (and probably many others) cancel subscriptions too.

There is less and less in the paper to justify it's subscription expense.

The name is Tracy COLCLOUGH.

The DNT got my name wrong in a story once too, but they misquoted me so badly I was glad I couldn't be identified.

So what did you do, Tracy?

Sorry, Tracy, I got your name from a DNT reporter who was kind enough to pass the information to me. Usually he is scrupulously correct in such things, so I didn't doublecheck. Apologies.

Sorry, Tracy, I got your name from a DNT reporter who was kind enough to pass the information to me. Usually he is scrupulously correct in such things, so I didn't doublecheck. Apologies.

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