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Twin-Cities Get New Archbishop

The question of who would be the new archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis got its answer on Tuesday with the appointment of a new archbishop.

The story that ran in the Star Tribune was written by Pamela Miller. The story reported that John Nienstedt was named coadjutor archbishop meaning that he will share the duties of archbishop with current archbishop, Harry Flynn until Flynn retires. The story reported that Flynn’s retirement was expected.

Last year, Flynn, who will turn 74 on May 2, asked the Vatican to choose an eventual successor. Bishops generally retire at age 75.

The story reported that Nienstedt wants to continue Flynn’s work with the poor and disenfranchised especially immigrants. The story reported the history of Nienstedt’s work with the clergy.

Nienstedt was named bishop of the Diocese of New Ulm in the summer of 2001. Before that, he served as auxiliary bishop of Detroit. He was ordained a bishop in July 1996 and served as bishop for several Michigan communities.

I felt that the biggest issue with this story is making the story interesting to readers who may not be catholic. I think that this story did a somewhat acceptable job at making me feel like this story was important. It was interesting to see how many registered Catholics there are in Twin-Cities area.

A second story ran in the Pioneer Press and was written by Nancy Yang. This story reported much of the same information as the Miller version. This version used a different method to explain the situation regarding Flynn’s retirement.

Flynn turned 73 last year. When a bishop nears retirement age, which is 75 under canon law, the Vatican often appoints a coadjutor bishop to work with the present leader before taking over.

This story reported that there were only 750,000 Catholics in the Twin-Cities area whereas the Miller version reported that there were 830,000 Catholics in the area. I thought that this was an interesting contradiction between the two stories and really have no idea why the numbers are so different. The story did report the history of Nienstedt’s actions and activism.

Last December, he was one of seven prominent Minnesota bishops who signed a statement of protest against the federal immigration raids on Swift Co. plants. The statement said the raids divided families, disrupted communities and did nothing to advance needed immigration reform.

After reading both versions I felt that the Miller version was slightly more enjoyable and interesting but overall both versions were pretty boring. I found these stories rather boring because I am not strongly tied to the Catholic Church. I understand why it was written because there are between 750,000 and 830,000 Catholics in the Twin-Cities area and they would read a story like this. Overall, I didn’t think that either of them were that good but they did have newsworthy value in their impact on readership.