March 29, 2007

Muslims in Minnesota

Minnesota is home to an estimated 150,000 Muslims. Minnesota elected a Muslim congressman this past year. The number of Muslims filing federal complaints about being targeted at work because of their faith has climbed in the past year. The U.S is engaged in war with a Muslim country. Muslims and the issues concerning them are central to our society and in the media recently but not a lot is mentioned in a local perspective. I would like to see a profile-type story done on the Muslim experience in Minnesota. But it should not only be from the Somali perspective. There are Pakistani, Bosnian, and converted Muslims for example as well who would all have a different story to tell. Since this is a Christian nation, I would like to address the issues of discrimination in workplaces, housing, and lack of accomodation--time to pray five times a day, for example. But I do vaguely remember hearing something about a housing project that had prayer rooms in the layout of the houses...Also something should be mentioned of the difficulty it is in retaining religious values when not in a Muslim society.
Islamic Cultural Community Center (Dr. Farok Assamarai): 612-782-3883
Muslim American Society of Minnesota (Khalid Elmesry): 651-494-7134
Sami Khawaja (president of Muslim Student Association at U of M):

March 23, 2007

Latinos in Minnesota

There is a fast-growing Latino population in the Twin Ciites and they are the primary consumers of ethnic media. Latinos are the only minority group that prefer ethnic media to mainstream media for their information about politics. Only about 5% of Latinos read USA Today/NY Times/Washington Post on a regular basis. Minnesota has various Spanish-language papers (La Prensa, Gente de MN, La Voz Latina, Latino Midwest News) and two radio stations on AM (Radio Rey and La Invasora). The Spanish-language media has a quickly maturing paper and television market and it would be interesting to explore this booming industry and do a piece that would take a look at how it is at work locally. Concerns about competition with other media outlets within and outside of the Spanish language, plans for growth, etc.
Possible Interviews:
Rhoda Fukushima, Professor of Journalism at U of M (651-228-5444)
Guadalupe Gonzalez, Founder of Radio Rey (612-729-3776)
Mario Duarte, Publisher of La Prensa (

March 9, 2007

You Tube in the 2008 Presidential Election has gained plenty of notoriety in the past elections and is bound to have an even bigger impact on the 2008 presidential election. If Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama run for president, many people not ready for that kind of change will be searching for and posting many incriminating videos on youtube. Politics in the internet age should be explored further. It would be interesting to analyze what may happen in the coming year and if any censorship will be imposed on what is realeased to the masses. A paragraph recapping how YouTube affected political candidates like Michelle Bachman and other Minnesota candidates this past year could be included.
Possible Sources:
Students for Barack Obama- (they have a website with youtube videos and also use Facebook to campaign)
Meredith Segal (Executive Director)
John Rash- U of M professor and Director of Broadcast Relations for Campbell Mithun ( or 612- 625-7316)
I think informal sources should also be used like blogs talking about the future of Youtube

March 2, 2007

Benefits for Gays

The Star Tribune did a story on a bill that would let cities and counties offer health insurance to their employees' same-sex partners. Another bill would allow for hospital visits and the right to make medical decisions for the other partner. The gay-marriage debate has somewhat quieted down for now but something like this may be working to grant marrital benefits. I think it would be interesting to do a more in-depth story exploring what other states have done regarding similar bills and how they have worked out. Some facts on Minnesota's policies could also be included as well as interviews with students from the gay and lesbian student organization at the U of M. Their testimony is important because, by the time they graduate, more opportunities/rights/benefits will be available to them.
Possible resources:
Aisling Coghlan, Interim Executive Director of Basic Rights Oregon (
Jere Keys, Communications Manager of Out and Equal (California) (
Joe Glover, Family Policy Network President (D.C) ((202) 470-5095)--Conservative