The axe falls again at the DNT

What happened?

The News Tribune laid off two employees today, including education reporter Sarah Horner.

Why?

It’s a long story. And I’ll preface it by saying that while this comes from someone on the union side of the fence, what follows are facts that I don’t believe the company would protest.

So get on with it

In September, the paper’s guild, which includes reporters, copy editors, advertising reps, customer service reps and many others, approached the management of the paper to seek strategies to save money and avoid layoffs. No response was given until December, when management approached the union about re-opening the contract with the guild to freeze a wage increase and cut a 401k match. The union agreed to enter into the negotiations. We believe this is the first time in the paper’s history that a contract has been re-opened.

What did you guys want?

We were fully willing to accept the concessions if we had something inserted into the contracts that prevented layoffs for a period of time. We asked for a year, generally knowing that would be negotiated downward. We also asked for a one-year extension of the contract.

After we presented our requests, both sides “caucused” a fancy word for going into our respective corners. We assume the management team got on the phone to Fargo, while the union negotiators …. sort of just sat around and waited for a response from the management team. Ultimately, management came back with this reply: the union gets nothing. Take the concessions to your members for a vote up or down.

So why even have the negotiations? Why not just ask for that in the first place?

I … I don’t know. We’re still asking that very question.

What did the union do?

After speaking with our members we decided to take it to a vote, which took some time because we were trying to get the formal request from the company in writing. The vote occurred last week, when the union 1) overwhelming rejected the concessions and 2) nearly unanimously asked the company to go back to the table and work toward a compromise.

Why did the union do that?

Generally because we want to take these concessions, but we want a protection against layoffs in return.

How did the company respond?

With the layoffs. This despite the union going to management after the vote and saying that we’ll take even more in concessions than the company initially requested in exchange for layoff protection, including furloughs. Obviously the company said no.

Ok, so why are you telling us this?

Because the union is looking for your support (oh, and here’s where we start in with the opinion, and where the company generally won’t agree with the union). During the negotiations, we were told that the News Tribune is still profitable, and yet management in Fargo continues to keep cutting staff and lowering the quality of the product. We are not immune to the complaints of readers that the News Tribune has slipped significantly in quality in recent years. Quite simply, this is because Fargo has slashed our staffing to the bone. Since I started working at the the paper nearly four years ago — and Forum has owned the paper nearly that entire time — the staffing levels in the newsroom have been nearly cut in half.

The journalists that remain are dedicated, passionate and love this paper, but we are heartbroken that we do not get the support from Fargo to run the best possible newspaper that this community needs and deserves.

We want to get a message out to Forum that these layoffs must stop, and that they must start working with the union to find other ways to cut costs and save money. Again: we are more than willing and ready to do that. We’d just like something in return, like the promise of saving jobs.

So what can we do?

Write letters to the editor protesting the continued cuts at the News Tribune. Write a letter to Forum owner Bill Marcil at [email protected] and tell him these continued cuts are unacceptable. Stand with us or support us as we hold information pickets (time, date, TBA). And thank you for reading this.

53 Comments

TimK

about 10 years ago

Brandon has just painted his own bull's eye. Fargo hates any and all unions. The fact that the DNT turns a profit is all that matters to them. Don't get me wrong- I totally support the guild, but Fargo is Fargo and you guys are screwed!

Calk

about 10 years ago

Damn, this is terrible news and Brandon, I admire your guts for putting your name to this thread. I'd be happy to write a letter to the editor and to the head dude at Forum -- after all I did make a New Year's resolution. I think back to the paper as it was and what it's become and it makes me sick. I don't know how the surviving employees do it. And I'm sure the anti-Red Plan people are cheering Ms. Horner's dismissal. Disgusting.

Pear Head

about 10 years ago

While I support the staff of the DNT, and can see where you're coming from, it's hard for me to see that the paper has any life in it.  To me, as a reader, it's circling the drain.  It's now just a few sheets of paper with very little content in it (due I'm sure to the cuts in staffing).

While I don't know the stats, I find it hard to believe that any print newspaper in the country is increasing it's readership numbers at this point.  Print papers themselves are giving way to the internet (as are many other things, including the US Mail).

My point: while I support your efforts, if it were me, I'd be looking for a new place of employment...

blt2lst

about 10 years ago

This is really upsetting! Makes me glad that I haven't given a dime to the paper in the last 3-4 years. Sorry Brandon... It's just that you can't cut all the writers and content so that Fargo can increase their quarterly profit margin. I am past my breaking point for support of the DNT. It seems that writing to the editor is worthless because if they are unable to listen to the union they certainly aren't worried about listening to me the consumer. I agree with TimK that you guys are screwed. Wish there was another rag in town with local support and better owners.

edgeways

about 10 years ago

I sometimes think the DNT's Fargo management honestly doesn't give a rat's ass about the DNT, and is actively hostile to the Duluth region. I actually think a paper could be profitable, not make a ton of money mind you, and should be managed and owned locally. 

If it was at all possible I'd actually advocate that everyone left at the DNT just quit. It's only a matter of time before Fargo closes it down at this point.

TimK

about 10 years ago

The DNT IS profitable. It makes money. Just not enough for the Forum overlords. The en masse walk away has a ton of symbolism, but it don't pay the mortgage. Fargo won't close the paper- it's the only daily in the area. It's about greed.

David

about 10 years ago

Sara Horner has been a diligent and critical investigator of education news.  This is a substantial loss for the paper and for the community.

davids

about 10 years ago

If we, as a community, want a local paper that serves local needs, we are gonna have to make it ourselves. Grant writing and door knocking needs to happen to set up a local, maybe nonprofit, alternative daily. If we don't make it happen, it ain't gonna happen. I'm sad for you and the other reporters, Brandon--I love reading newsprint, but there's not much to read in the DNT anymore. Relocalization is about all of it--media, energy, food, culture.

Duluth and Superior seem to have some of it going on (especially, in recent years, the culture part), but in terms of relocalizing daily media and daily energy and daily food, we have some work ahead of us if we want to make it.

mac

about 10 years ago

Nonprofit alternative dailies will not do the job even the DNT is doing now.  You can't get the type of work reporters like Brandon Stahl does from people who are doing it for free, for very low pay or doing it on top of other jobs and responsibilities.  I'm sorry, but nonprofit alternative dailies will not be the answer.  The Duluth Citizen is a joke and the DuSu is in the same class.  It's one thing to have blog/news sites like the Citizen/DuSu and another to have an organization filled with people trained and ready to be able to retrieve information, do it accurately and objectively and turn that information on a dime into a news report.  How many people representing the Duluth Citizen/DuSu are present at major news conferences in the city, big-time athletic events, breaking news stories and other news making events?  How much of their copy on these sites comes from the DNT?  You may not like what's in front of you now, but the DNT continues to be the best source for local news.

Biff

about 10 years ago

blt2lst...do you think the fact that you haven't given a dime in years has anything to do with the layoff?  Well, it does.  Others...By all means start your own "alternative" daily.  Assuming, of course, that you have the $$$ to pay for it (advertising dollars).  The Burrito Union and Brewhouse can only support so many "alternative" dailies.  In fact, they couldn't even support their own.  While you all are bashing Fargo, keep in mind that if any other major newspaper company had bought the DNT these two layoffs, and many more, would have happened years ago.  So, while I agree, layoffs are bad, and the DNT has certainly seen better days, I as a citizen of Duluth will continue to support the local daily newspaper because where else am I going to get my local news?  TV?  Radio?  PDD?  DCB? BITCH....PLEASE.

adam

about 10 years ago

The union should make an offer to buy the DNT.

Tony Ramone

about 10 years ago

I think this one sentence says it all:

"During the negotiations, we were told that the News Tribune is still profitable, and yet management in Fargo continues to keep cutting staff and lowering the quality of the product."

The product is irrelevant, the owners don't care whether the DNT produces news stories or widgets. They only care about the return on their investment. It is not immoral; it's just amoral. This kind of laissez-faire capitalism does not serve the community. I lean toward syndicalism and co-operativism. It would be great to see the DNT turn into something like Mondragon

Joe F

about 10 years ago

Brandon, maybe you should have used your own journalistic integrity and given the whole story.  It's no secret that the entire company has made this sacrifice including the DNT's own management and other local papers.  They are joining a multitude of others in the Duluth Superior area that have not had raises or a 401(k) match.  You should have also written about how the Guild didn't even let every Guild covered employee vote because they don't pay dues to the Guild.  Talk about fairness.  Why does the Guild believe they should be treated better than anyone else?  Brandon, you are just showing your inexperience and immaturity.  There are a lot of people in this fine region that would love to have your job, but all you do is whine.  You are right about one thing.  Sarah Horner is a great loss to your seniority rule.  I would rather have seen you be let go than her.  Keep bashing your own employer, so businesses and readers stop paying your salary.  Yeah, that makes a lot of sense.

Danny G

about 10 years ago

Biff, you forgot DDD.

This will be my only comment on this subject.

You are all welcome.

Derek Montgomery

about 10 years ago

Hi JoeF.  I'm a former employee at the DNT who was also laid off in 2009.  I would hope that with such strong words you might have the cajones to also use your real name. The fortitude of Brandon to post what he did here while using his real name is amplified compared to what you posted in a quasi-anonymous fashion assuming JoeF has any connection to your actual name.  Additionally, the action of other unions at other papers have no bearing on what the Guild at the DNT should expect or ask for.  Each contract is unique and comes with its own set of challenges.

davids

about 10 years ago

I have no vested interest in supporting non-profits. I am not affiliated with any of the currently existing efforts on this front.

But I would like to point out that nonprofit does not equal not seeking enough income to pay workers. Nonprofit simply means not having income earning as the absolute bottom line.

Imagine a newspaper that makes enough income to pay all of its employees a liveable wage. Maybe that means a newspaper with 5 employees, 1 of whom has the job of finding enough advertisers to pay 5 good salaries. Maybe that means a newspaper that has 50 employees, with half the employees finding funding (from a combination of advertisers and grant sources and others...)

My point really is that as our culture changes (which it is), we need to find alternative ways to bring us the things we like, or we will end up with nothing.

Biff

about 10 years ago

Derek...sounds like that union situation at the DNT worked in your best interest?  I'm assuming you were laid off because you were in the union but lowest on the ladder? How much did you spend in union dues while you were there?  Did you get what you paid for?  I work for a local employer and as a senior union member with plenty of young people below me, who are just starting out, I'd be MORE than willing to forgo ANY raise to keep my union membership strong. Win the battle or the war??

Derek Montgomery

about 10 years ago

Hello Biff.  Yes I was let go because of my position on the ladder.  I didn't pay dues my first year, but I did for my last year because I believed in what the union was doing and thought that my dues would be helpful.  I would have gained the same benefits had I decided not to contribute, but it was something I believed in so I did it.  I honestly can't tell you how much I contributed.  I think it was something like 1% of my salary.  I knew coming into the position that if the industry or the newspaper went south that this would be how they dealt with layoffs so it was something I prepared for and was not surprised about.  The union afforded those there a good salary for the job they were doing.  One thing I still have from the union is a George Foreman grill that I won at the union christmas party and that cooks up some mean burgers to this day.  So yes I did get what I paid for and more I think.

blt2lst

about 10 years ago

Of course my lack of monetary support for the DNT may play a role in the demise of employment at the DNT, but I was under the impression that in America the best way to voice your opinion now is to speak with your wallet. When their corporate ownership started to support political candidates that I wasn't interested in, my wallet went back into my pocket. Especially when they started to lay off talented employees who brang substance to the paper that made it worth my money. So to support a paper purely because it is local is stupid IMO. You can get your local news on your televison albeit it may not be what you are looking for....  Also where do you get off assuming that the layoffs would have happened years ago. Unless of course you run the books for the DNT that is. I don't know if you are referring to the Ripsaw when you discuss the alternative daily that the Brewhouse/BU brought about, but you are crazy if you think they were the only supporters.

Biff

about 10 years ago

I refer to the layoffs at the Pioneer Press & the Star Tribune as examples.  The staff cuts there have been, and will continue to be, far more drastic.  The people who work at the DNT, from what I understand, make decent wages.  They support our local economy.  The DNT has endorsed every democratic candidate since Jesus was a baby.  So the new owner of the DNT is a republican; boohoo.  He's been paying the people who've been "branging" you the news for a couple of years.  Yes, I was referring to the Ripsaw and the other alt products in the area.  Sorry, but where are they now and what do the remaining ones really provide?  How much are their employees earning?  I guess my point is that all the people who hate the DNT,and their recent cooperate decisions, should get together and start their own paper.  BTW, get it to my door every day at 6:30 in the AM, endorse only the candidates who I like, and keep me up to date on what is going on in my community.  I'd be more than willing to subscribe unless, of course, I can get it online for free.  I too will vote with my wallet, but until there is another candidate, the DNT still has my vote.

Biff

about 10 years ago

Derek,
A George Foreman grill?  That's [email protected]#in hilarious!  Thanks for the levity.  BTW  Miss your photos in the paper.

blt2lst

about 10 years ago

Well I am sorry that I don't support the "cooperate" decisions that the DNT provides, but my boohoo story means I don't support the DNT anymore. Deal with it!!! And just because I think the DNT is a sinking ship doesn't mean that wishing for another source of local media means that the Ripsaw needs to be resurrected tomorrow and delivered to your doorstep. I support your decision to keep voting, but please respect my decision to not vote for this candidate.

Biff

about 10 years ago

OK.  Going back to your original post.  If you wish there was another rag then step up and do a better job.  If you don't want to support the DNT don't bitch when they have layoffs.

wildgoose

about 10 years ago

I am so sorry for Sarah and whomever else was laid off.  I did think she was a great reporter.  This spring I got a wild hari going repeated a rumor that was false about the loss of the honking tree in Two Harbors, I did it on Facebook & Twitter for sure and I may have even done it here on PDD.  Sarah ALSO heard the rumor and used her contacts in the community to get the story right and report on the facts within and hour or so on the DNT website.  There is just one concrete example of how some cranky blogger type (me) with access to new media platforms needs an actual impartial reporter to attempt to hold the truth in check. Now that's one less person to report on that beat.   Terrible loss.  I am so sorry for her and anyone else that lost a job.

Very courageous of you to go public with your perspective Brandon.  I hope you don't lose your job over it.  

-JP Rennquist

Will

about 10 years ago

But Brandon, let's not forget that the union has (from my perspective, at least) a few flaws of its own. The seniority system protects the codgers, one of whom doesn't really believe in this whole "Internet" thing and several others who could justifiably be accused of phoning it in. It's the ambitious, adaptive, reporters like Sarah - the ones who have something to prove because they don't have a 20-year career behind them - who suffer. New reporters make no money and they're the first to go when financial trouble hits. The way I see it, the union isn't a lot of help in that regard.

Derek Montgomery

about 10 years ago

Local support includes people like yourself.  As cheesy as this may sound, you need to be the change you want to see in the world/Duluth.

Gerald

about 10 years ago

Maybe people need to rely on KDAL Radio for their news. What a joke.

brian

about 10 years ago

I'm sure plenty of people at Forum imagine a newspaper that pays a livable wage and has enough employees to get the job done well - they just can't do it anymore. I'm not defending Forum, I think they've screwed up plenty of decisions regarding the DNT. But the bottom line is that print news is dying a painful death, and Forum certainly isn't the only publisher that can't make it work anymore. 
To get something like a daily paper going from scratch would be a monumental task. I've been involved with it at several non-profit and for-profit publications on weekly and monthly schedules back in the good 'ol days when print actually paid for itself. It really would take the momentum and finances of a larger company to even make it possible, but nobody in their right mind would try it these days.

David

about 10 years ago

Don't comments like this presuppose that the DNT wasn't operating in the black?  I thought it was.

Brandon Stahl

about 10 years ago

Will, I'll be the first to tell you that I don't agree with everything the union does or has done in this situation. I was the only member of the executive board to vote to accept the concessions, doing so on faith that the company would provide a temporary reprieve from layoffs. When it was brought to the entire union, I also voted again to accept the concessions, but the union overwhelming voted to reject them -- a vote I have to accept. While I didn't agree with the union, I certainly don't agree that the best response to the vote is to lay off more workers rather than to continue to negotiate. 

Also, after business reporter Andy Greder put in his two week notice yesterday (a position I don't expect to be filled, though I hope I am proven wrong) I am now at the bottom of the seniority list. Meaning, if another reporter is laid off, it will be me. So the above commenter will get his wish. And oh what happy days that will be -- a family struggling to pay the mortgage and bills, provide for a child, etc. If you're lucky, Joe F, a young family will be forced to leave Duluth. 

But there are upsides to being in the union, namely the above post. It was posted as a union member as a union activity, which is why I believe it protects me from company retribution. If I weren't part of a union, my lips would be sealed on this. It was posted in hopes that it would jolt the company from the course it's been on. The union has largely sat silent through the layoffs and attrition (we've lost far, far more journalists due to positions not being filled than to layoffs. The last time a hire was made in the newsroom was, I believe, two years ago). The course of silence got us nowhere. Perhaps getting the word out to the community will spur the company to talk and work with us in the future to prevent layoffs and to start rebuilding the quality of the paper.

Nick Lansing

about 10 years ago

Publisher Ken Browall's the featured speaker at the Chamber's 'Get The Dish At D's' on the 22nd.  It'll be interesting hearing what he has to say.

Andy and Sarah leaving means fewer than a dozen reporters remain.  It's tragic.  There's lots of blame to go around.  Generally speaking:

The Guild resisted needed change for decades.  

Management didn't / couldn't / wouldn't react to market forces.  

Traditional readers freak when the paper tries to modernize (Beetle Bailey still runs in 2010?).  

Younger readers aren't interested in newspapers.

Advertisers trim spending and won't support new content, some of which was created for them (Wave, Home & Garden, Taste).

New technologies and lifestyle habits mean more news is available from more sources every minute of the day.

Those are all generalizations.  There are many sides to each of those stories.  I lived them for 7 years as a Guild employee then a manager at the DNT.  I'm living them now as an advertiser at SMDC.  It hurts seeing good people cut, I hope there are no more changes but I'm not confident.

farglebargle

about 10 years ago

I wouldn't cheer anyone's job loss, but she was just doing PR for Keith Dixon, which is typical of the DNT's suck-up-to-the-powers-that-be mode. They might as well just print the school district's press releases.

Nanners

about 10 years ago

farglebargle, that is such an ignorant statement.

Ramos

about 10 years ago

I've been reading papers from the 1970s, and it is astonishing how much more news-filled they are than the DNT today. Calm, matter-of-fact headlines introduce calm, matter-of-fact stories about things going on in the community.

I think a new daily in Duluth might be able to compete against the DNT if a small group of people decided to return to the basics of journalism and put out an information-packed product. 

The basics of journalism mean that you attend every public meeting you can and report on them. Then you follow up on all the leads you picked up and write more stories. And so on. If you have six or eight people doing this, you'll have a lot of stories.

Today, the vast majority of such meetings go by completely unnoticed by the media. 

To sell it, I think you'd have to keep your stories off the Web, or maybe only post a couple of teaser stories each day to encourage people to subscribe to the print edition. If people valued quality news arriving on their doorstep, they would subscribe.

And therein lies the greatest risk: Do people value quality news? I go back and forth on this. Sometimes I think yes, sometimes no. If people don't value it enough to subscribe, you're screwed. If they do value it, you could beat the DNT all around the block——no historical debt to pay off, no big building to maintain, a much smaller core of employees to pay, etc.

But surely people would respond if a competing daily newspaper suddenly appeared with content that was superior to the content of the DNT. Wouldn't they?

Derek Montgomery

about 10 years ago

Farglebargle, please provide a concrete example of this.  I always ask people who accuse the DNT of bias this question and I never get a response.  It's one thing to spew that off the top of your head without anything to back it up and another to actually back it up so I implore you to please provide an example.  Thanks!

davids

about 10 years ago

I would respond immediately--I MISS having as local, print newspaper on my breakfast table every morning. I miss it, I miss it, I miss it. I want one that is a NEWSpaper with calm, well researched stories about community-related news.

farglebargle

about 10 years ago

Sarah has written many article making the Red Plan opponents look bad, and you could argue it was deserved, but if she did any stories seriously investigating the Red Plan or Johnson Controls, please cite them. Her Oct. 25, 2009 pre-election coverage ("The News Tribune explores today what could happen if an anti-red plan School Board is elected...") amounted to scaremongering. Meanwhile the school district provides the DNT with a lot of advertising it desperately needs.
You want to see the reporting we should have had, look up timberjay.com and search their archives for Johnson Controls.

Patrick Garmoe

about 10 years ago

As a laid off DNT reporter (was laid off with Derek), having thought in depth about these issues, I'll summarize briefly what I think the crux of the problem is. Thanks to Brandon for his gutsy willingness to voice this tough issue. It cracks me up that some people on this thread hide behind anonymity. I consider anonymous comments worthless, unless you're posting something that might get you fired. I also worry that Forum will make Brandon's life hell for posting this. They've already gone after people who dared speak out against them.

1. The world is changing, and it is rearranging and perhaps eliminating traditional newspapers. Forum and the DNT are simply swept up in that.

2. Forum obviously wants to milk the DNT while it's still a money maker, and therefore is going to do all it can to do that. They're thinking (in my opinion), there is no tomorrow, so let's make the most of what we have. And since union scale wages are better than a similarly sized paper elsewhere (I know, because I've lived it) I assume Forum thinks the DNT shouldn't cost them any more than Fargo's newsroom, for better or worse. I've long felt some union members think that Fargo hates each union leader, and that everything's personal. I certainly think there is that element, but at the end of the day, Fargo cares about the money, and little else. 

3. Just for the record, per capita, I'm sure the DNT's newsroom has been hit harder than most newspapers, and even most other departments within the DNT.

fly-on-the-wall

about 10 years ago

Farglebargle is correct on the Sarah Horner = 709's mouth piece thing. Dixon had a trusty conduit there.

Mudd

about 10 years ago

Will,

Codgers? Phoning it in? The three most senior DNT writers are Kevin Pates, Mark Stodgill and Sam Cook -- with a combined tenure of nearly 100 years at the DNT -- and arguably the most productive writers on staff (and ones who didn't bail when greener pastures beckoned).

Nimrod

about 10 years ago

I see that many former DNT reporters whose work I have appreciated over the years are active on this thread, so I would like to take the opportunity to thank them for their work. We can't know what we've missed, but I know we've missed a lot. I know that many of us share the common cause of getting you back to work doing what you do best.

But how can we do that? Are we wise to continue renewing our DNT subscriptions under the pretense that Forum will unveil a commitment to community journalism once certain conditions are met? If it is true that Forum is willing to sacrifice journalism in order to extend profit, isn't it also true that a trust has been broken?

Will

about 10 years ago

Mudd, I have the utmost respect for those three reporters you mentioned. They aren't who I was referring to. In any regard, I may have overstated my case a little. While I am free to have my own opinion, it's just that - an opinion.

Will

about 10 years ago

And just so we're all clear, I used "codger" lightly and as a term of affection, the way "whippersnapper" and "punk" might be used for a younger person.

Calk

about 10 years ago

I remember when Pia Lopez was editorial page editor, about 10 years ago? And I think about Chuck Frederick being editorial page editor now and I shake my head in disbelief at how the DNT has changed since Forum bought. Maybe the talented journalists who have left the DNT could follow the example of those at MinnPost, so we could get some real news again. If one committed citizen who knows how to write, like John Ramos, could do such amazing investigative work on his own, think what a group of committed citizens who know how to write could do.

Scotty J

about 10 years ago

Pia Lopez? Please, spare me. The DNT and local journalism have been much better off since she's left town.

That said, the quality of the paper has suffered terribly as a result of the reductions in newsroom staff. They don't cover what they used to. They don't have the manpower.

I'm not so upset about the editorial page. In fact, I believe the editorial page is better now than it used to be.

But the rest of the paper? Woefully understaffed.

mac

about 10 years ago

"If one committed citizen who knows how to write, like John Ramos, could do such amazing investigative work on his own, think what a group of committed citizens who know how to write could do."

There is the laugher of the century.  The guy has written 8 blog posts in the last year--five of which have to do with Spirit Mountain, another which has to do with him taking a break.  Brandon Stahl does five times the work in a week that Ramos does in a year.  It's painfully obvious most of you hear know not what they post about or have ever read Buzz.Duluth.

David

about 10 years ago

Chuck is meticulously detail oriented and professional -- two essential qualities for his work, and again, we are lucky to have him.

Carl

about 10 years ago

Well that's dumb, wasn't Sarah on the payroll for UMD? IF she wasn't she should have! All she did was write pro-UMD stories on how they are so thrifty with spending cash and raising capital! My favorite story was when they highlighted that students who take over 13 credits a semester only pay for 13! even if they take over that amount! Glad I took 3 semesters of plus 20-credits!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anyone know how I can get my money back?

Paul Lundgren

about 10 years ago

I could be wrong about the specific instance Carl is referring to, but Sarah Horner didn't generally cover higher education. That was (and probably still is) Jana Hollingsworth's beat.

Not that I agree with the criticism at all; I'm just pointing out that it might be misdirected.

David

about 10 years ago

Banded tuition is a recent innovation at UMD (since, I think, 2007).  It's designed to help students take a higher number of classes a semester, thereby being more likely to graduate in 4 years.

I regret if you attended earlier, Carl, and did not get the discount.  Perhaps we can look at the tuition rate difference and see whether the increase in per credit tuition since you were a student might not eat most of that savings.

...

Coverage of the University was never about being a PR mouthpiece.  The DNT staff does/did 60 hours of good work in a 40 hour workweek, as we all do, and the community should recognize that.

Voula Heffernan

about 10 years ago

It is indeed sad to see the demise of the printed press and the layoffs at the DNT hit right at home. We all miss a quality newspaper here in Duluth. Obviously the integrity of the DNT has been compromised with the layoffs and undermined journalistic values.

I think we all could help the cause of good journalism here on PDD by rising to a higher ground. We need to use our own names when commenting and show respect for each other rather than just plain slinging mud. That type of stuff just gives PDD a bad name.  I'd like to hear about more ways to creatively support quality journalism and news coverage here in Duluth from all of you. I personally like the idea presented earlier of creating a MinnPost for Duluth or finding some investors (it will take some big bucks) to create a newspaper to compete with the DNT. So many small town newspapers of the past received Pulitzer Prizes for quality. It doesn't have to be big... but it needs to be of high quality. There are plenty of us who would subscribe and I think we have plenty of talented journalists here to take on the workload of a  new and creative enterprise. What do you think?

Karen

about 10 years ago

No one enjoys seeing someone receiving a pink slip in this recession. But a question has been asked about education reporting. Ms. Horner wrote a story I found very disrespectful. A group of former school board members held a press conference at a Canal Park Hotel stating their dislike for the Red Plan. She chose to set the tone for her piece by her first sentence, that some may question the timing since the 3 tier referendum was coming up. I listened to her interview one member, very cursory questions. I talked with this gentleman and he told me they had been planning this for months but one thing or another (they are mostly older retired folks)got in the way and they decided to just get as many as possbile together before the snowbirds left. Other examples include omissions. At one school board meeting district employees were falling all over themselves to excuse the fact that the vast majority of bids were let to out of town contractors. That was not reported even though the concrete facts and figures were in packets available to everyone. It was not until this was widely known via blogs, comments (and what happened to those, lots of opinions but also info not provided elsewhere?)that weeks later there was a story on it. There are more examples but this is how opinions are formed that there was a bias in education reporting.

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