Good afternoon everyone, happy new year, and thanks for reading the Star Tribune.
I'll try to answer as many of your questions as I can.
That’s a tough and still-new question for us to answer, thanks. We have never had a President who tweets the way Donald Trump does, so that will bring a fresh challenge this year if he keeps up his almost daily tweeting habit. We will likely focus our coverage report on the tweets that reflect his thinking on truly serious national or international issues.
We’re always going to stress the news most --- that’s what our readers rightly expect. But in our print edition and digitally, there’s definitely a place for entertainment coverage, too. Many readers are showing us in what they click to read that they enjoy the local entertainment coverage we have online, so we’re trying to give them a bit more of that coverage, without it ever overtaking the news.
Yes, we are hosting more events in the community, in a variety of ways. We’re finding that many of our readers enjoy the events, such as when we showcase our best photography, or preview the upcoming seasons of our pro sports teams. Last year, we also convened our first local forum on the arts. It’s all a good new way to reach out to readers and create discussion around what we cover..
That’s another tough new challenge for us in this era of constant spin and truth-stretching by all sides. But if something is absolutely verified as not factual, we will not equivocate. We will say it.
We see value in comments because many of our readers really like to express their views on stories, especially in sports and politics. Sometimes the comments also challenge our coverage in helpful ways, even if it's tough to hear, and they can lead to story ideas, too. We have a team of moderators working every day to police the comments and try to keep them respectful.
Many Star Tribune reporters travel outside of Minnesota and across the country during the year, on a wide range of coverage areas such as sports, business, news and entertainment.
Sometimes, we also travel overseas. Last year, for example we traveled to Europe to write in-depth stories on new initiatives related to work in the Twin Cities to try to stop terrorism at its roots. We also went to Germany to begin showcasing coverage of the 500th anniversary this year of Lutheranism, since Minnesota has so many Lutheran residents. We try to limit such travel to places and topics that directly relate to news in Minnesota. At this point I doubt we would travel to Moscow.
We still have a very large and loyal audience of print readers. Many people prefer to read the news and other coverage that way, even if they also spend time digitally. We certainly have no plans to cut back on print. In fact, just the opposite. This spring, we are going to launch a new quarterly magazine in the Sunday edition about life in Twin Cities and the state. We're working hard on that right now.
Well I think there have been examples of what could be called fake news for a long time. What's different now, what really erupted this fall, was a massive, global spread of fiction disguised as fact on social media sites such as Facebook.
That's something our digital editors decide. We routinely turn off the ability to comment on articles in categories that have proven over time to draw many comments that violate our decency standards. That includes no commenting on articles involving racial and gender matters, crime and accidents.
In our newsroom most of our reporters have areas of focus they cover every day, so they get to know important subjects well, and can write with depth and a kind of expertise. It doesn't happen overnight. You're right -- a complex subject can take time to study, and deadlines come at us quickly. But I can assure you that one of our top priorities is doing this well.
Race relations is one of the most difficult subjects to cover, but we have to do it well, and not just when an incident erupts.
Funny, I'm getting a lot of questions about Mike Russo and his great coverage of the Minnesota Wild. Maybe I should do a separate conversation like this just listing all the ways we like Mike!
Great question. We actually feel fairly good about the polling firm we've used. They have a good track record of accuracy. Last year, our polls actually forecast Hillary Clinton's support in the state well, very accurately. They did at times not quite capture the support that Donald Trump received. Partly we think that's due to the likelihood of a lot of "undecided" breaking his way near the end. But we are taking a close look at our polling. We work very hard to make sure that it captures sentiment across the state and from both major political parties. I can't speak for other polling in the country.
We believe our target market of readers is everyone in Minnesota.
I have time for a few more questions. I have more than I can answer, sorry about that, but I appreciate them all.
Yep, a tough one. It's definitely true that we're now in a world in which we are all one click away from only ever hearing what we want to hear, all day, every day. But we still firmly believe that we need to reflect a variety of perspectives, and always shine light on the issues that really matter in the lives of our readers, regardless if that makes one party or the other uncomfortable. Thanks for the question.
Thank you very much, we sincerely appreciate our subscribers.
To me, media is such a tricky word. Yes, I think some media treat an election like a circus and never do more than shallow coverage of candidates, despite the high stakes. But I also believe that many newsrooms across the country worked extremely hard to cover Trump and Clinton in a tough-minded way.
Yes, I believe we did. We went to meticulous lengths during the campaign to be fair.
I honestly cannot name any one story, but we are always most proud of the work we do that's a form of public service, and I believe we've done a lot of that over the past year.
Ok that's about all the time I have. Thanks very much for so many questions, sorry that I can't get to all of them. I also appreciate the tougher ones because we definitely need readers who hold us to the highest standards of journalism. Have a good week!