Twenty years ago, fresh out of college, I began my career in journalism. Everything was about to change in the industry, but it hadn’t changed yet. Print was king, profits were good and the prospect of any local news organization developing a website was the subject of a conversation that started and ended with the phrase “probably next year.”
I was hired as news editor at the Duluth Budgeteer Press, a weekly community paper that produced just enough news content to avoid being considered a “shopper.” Actually, for many years it was considered a shopper, but then another paper came along that was more of a shopper, and the Budge started to be considered a newspaper.
Manny’s Shopper was the weekly coupon rag that lowered the bar and lifted the Budgeteer to prominence. Although no one these days seems to know who Manny was or much else about what became of his shopper, one thing was important 20 years ago: it had committed what is probably not the biggest, but quite likely is the most hilarious, print media blunder northern Minnesota has ever known.