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April 7, 2009

Kept in Writing

The Duluth News Tribune has been a long standing newspaper serving the Duluth area for quite some time now. What problems are they now facing? Layoffs and the Internet.

As I, along with Kjestine, got the amazing opportunity to visit the DNT on Friday, April 3, & meet with some of it's reports! Check out my slide show to see some of what I got to see!!

Well, my tour at the DNT was to last a few hours but was cut short after only one hour! What happened might you ask? Well at the time, I had no idea either.

Georgia Swing, the City Editor, chatted with me & Kjestine for a little bit then let us go and sit in on an interview the reporting had with Author Brian Freeman. Awesome right? Just before the interview Swing informed us that we would be able to meet with the multimedia (online) editor and sit on their 5 p.m. meeting...that never happened.

After the interview and turning to look at Swing, her eyes were glazed & she looked like she was on the verge of tears. We had no idea what happened while we were in that interview. Swing told us that "something happened" and that we needed to reschedule. Of course, Kjestine and I were okay with that. We were scheduled to come again on Monday, April 6.

In her desperate attempt to get a hold of me, Swing email me just an hour before I was supposed to head to the DNT...we needed to reschedule...again.

Swing informed me that with the budget cuts, the DNT was laying off employees. She said, "We had layoffs on Friday (while you were here, unfortunately), and today we really need to meet as a staff to
deal with it. Actually, that would be a great way to experience what's happening in the newspaper industry, but I don't think that would work so well for our staff."

In addition to that if you check out the movie again, you can see that there is an area of their upstairs at their office that has been cleared out. They downsized & moved their sports reporters & editors - notice the photos in my video!!

So, while Swing was trying her hardest to have us come and see their office, layoffs wouldn't have it. With journalism and writing becoming more prevalent online this day in age, the DNT is forced to layoff many of their employees.

While the printed, newspaper world is facing a hard time with budgets and such, the online publication world is thriving.

**Check out my other blog, Online Awesomeness, about the Twin Cities Daily Planet where I interviewed Executive Director Jeremy Iggers!
*Also check out the Print Media in the Digital World to learn more about how the UMD Statesman is working online! It's some pretty awesome stuff!*

Still have questions? Feel free to email me, Lauren Lundeen about my blog!

Online Awesomeness

With the DNT postponing my coming & time running short, I find that this is probably the best thing that could have happened for me!

Even though this blog was supposed to be dedicated to the DNT, I find that it's now much more AWESOME since the DNT cancelled my visit (for good reasons, I might add), I got the chance to talk with Jeremy Iggers, a thriving online executive director for the Twin Cities Daily Planet!!

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It was VERY short notice (stress on the word very) when I emailed Iggers about interviewing him for my blog - thanks to my Prof. J. Hatcher for helping me contact Iggers! As I said, Iggers is the executive director of the Twin Cities Daily Planet - Local News for Global Citizens. He responded to my email very quickly and gave me the awesome opportunity to do a little Q&A with him!

Below are 14 questions I asked Iggers about his life, journalism, career, and Web site!

1) Why do you not work for the Star Tribune anymore?
I opted for a buyout from the Star Tribune because I found my work on the Twin Cities Media Alliance and the Twin Cities Daily Planet much more challenging and rewarding than working at the Star Tribune, and because I didn't see much of a future at the Star Tribune.

2) In what ways is the Internet changing print journalism?
In economic terms, the rise of the Internet has destroyed the business model that made print journalism possible. Advertisers now have ways to market their products without funding journalism.

3) What type of multimedia journalism is most effective?
I don't think there is a simple answer to that question. Often it is a combination of text and images that is most effective - text to convey the facts, images to convey the emotional impact.

4) Do yo think that Internet is making it harder for journalists to find full-time jobs?
In the short term, definitely yes, and probably in the long term as well. Thousands of newspaper jobs have disappeared, and many more will go in the next few years. Newspapers will hire fewer new staffers, and at much lower wages.
**side note by me (Lauren) - notice how he said they [newspapers] will be going away & in my DNT blog they were cutting back on their staff with layoffs & budget cuts!**

5) Do you think making cut backs on writers/staff at newspapers effects their ability to produce a quality paper?
Yes.

6) What do you think the focus on news and in news rooms is? Has that changed with these financial issues and cutbacks?
Increasingly, newspapers have to put the bottom line ahead of the public interest. They focus their limited resources on covering the most affluent communities, and on the kinds of stories that will attract the readers their advertisers want to reach, instead of focusing on what's most important for the public to know.

7) Do you loose money by posting your news online?
My publication, the Twin Cities Daily Planet, is online-only, so if we didn't post online, we wouldn't exist at all. There is a lot of debate about whether newspapers made a big mistake by giving away their content for free on the internet. There are some good arguments on both sides, but I think they really had no other choice. If newspapers protected their content by requiring subscriptions to online content, readers would simply turn to other information sources that are free - even if they don't offer as much information.

8) Compared to a newsroom setting, what is more challenging (the newsroom or online)?
In the glory days of newspaper, life was much easier than it is today in print newsrooms or online - and right now both are very challenging. Online is much more exciting, because the tools are constantly evolving.

9) How do you go about advertising on your site and getting word of your site out to the public?
We can't really afford to advertise, so we swap ads with other media, such as public radio stations and other websites. We also become media sponsors of film festivals and art fairs, so that our logo is seen by a lot of people. And we encourage our media partners to link to our website.

10) Are your contacts throughout your career your main source of information now?

I actually am not involved in the day-to-day operation of the Daily Planet, - I am the executive director of the Twin Cities Media Alliance, the non-profit parent of the Daily Planet - but I am finding that working in the online world has brought me into contact with a whole new set of information sources.

11) How often is the site updated, and how do you decide what gets cut?
The site is updated every evening, and the oldest stories on the page are removed. But we are trying to move towards continuous updating - whenever new stories are ready to publish, they go up on the site.

12) Who edits your Web site?
We have one editor, Mary Turck, and two part-time assistant editors - arts editor Jay Gabler, and neighborhood outreach editor Lisa Peterson-de la Cueva.

13) How did you come up with your site?
The initial funding for the site came from a grant from J-Lab, also called the Institute for Interactive Journalism. They have an annual New Voices competition for grants to fund projects that bring new voices into the media mainstream, and use new media.

14) How many people work with you on the site?
Like I mentioned above, I don't work directly on the site, but in addition to our three editors, we have a part-time operations manager, and we have lots of citizen journalists - over 30 active ones.

***Read more about other online publications that are successful, such as the UMD Statesman, at Print Media in the Digital World blog***
**Interested in interviews? Check out my interview with Author Brian Freeman that I got to sit in on at the DNT in my Award Winning Author blog**
*click on Jeremy's picture to learn specifically more about him and to read of his own articles*
side note - Jeremy Iggers picture was supplied by the:
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Have questions about my Q&A? Well, email me, Lauren Lundeen, about my blog!

Award Winning Author

The coolest thing that came out of my SHORT Duluth News Tribune tour was when I got to sit in on Reporter Janna Goerdt when she interviewed Author Brian Freeman!!!

His most recent book that just came out is called In The Dark, also known as The Watchman in the U.K.!

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To sum up the interview with Brian Freemn in one word - Awesome!

I love to read and when I was asked if I wanted to sit in on Goerdt's interview, I was jumping at the chance! First of all, I've never seen a REAL reporter conduct an interview. I've done several myself but to see someone who does this for their career is another thing [to me].

It was such a cool, laid back interview. It was as if they were having a fun conversation rather than conducting an interview.

So who is Brian Freeman you ask? Well, it's your lucky day! I'm going to give you the 411 on this psychological suspense writing author!

Here he is with me and Kjestine after the interview:

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Brian Freeman was born in California but moved to Minnesota when he attended Carleton College in Northfield. Since he moved to MN and visiting Duluth, Freeman has come to love that little town of ours. The Majority of Freeman's novels are set right here in Duluth!

Freeman loves coming up here with his wife and is always looking for new places to have his book be set. Goerdt asked Freeman about why he chose Duluth and one of the first things out of his mouth was that he loves Sammy's Pizza! Apparently he can't get enough of their sausage pizza.

All of the questions Goerdt asked Freeman were open-ended questions, and the majority of the time Freeman took those questions and ran with them (not literally though). He gave her a ton of information to work off of for her article she was going to write right after their interview.

Other than the book that just came out In the Dark, which is an addition to his suspense novels (they're in a series starring, fictitious character, Johnathan Stride), Freeman came out with a second book that is out of character for him.

All the books, thus far, Freeman has written have been psychological suspense, including In the Dark, but the other new book The Agency that he just came out with is nothing of the sorts. The Agency is a fun, lighthearted, comical book that is first person with a woman telling the story rather than third person about a man.

Looking for the book and can't find it? Well, that might be because it's under a pseudonym name - Ally O'Brien. Freeman collaborated with his publisher, who lives in London where the book is set, to write this novel. Cool huh?

While I may not have been at the DNT very long, I got to sit in on something I wouldn't have dreamed I could. The DNT may be facing a hard time with layoffs and budget cuts, but at least they can put aside the hard times and have a little fun with interviews!

**Not sure as to what I'm talking about with my DNT visit? Check out the details of their budget cuts and layoffs in my Kept in Print blog**
*Like reading about awesome interviews? Check out my interview with Executive Director Jeremy Iggers from the online publication, Twin Cities Daily Planet in my Online Awesomeness blog*

Want to know more about my sit in on Brain Freeman's interview? Email me, Lauren Lundeen, and I'll give you all the details!

Have any Questions?

Still want to know more about my Duluth News Tribune visit, interview with Brian Freeman, or Q&A with Jeremy Iggers?

Shoot me an email.

Thanks for checking out my blog!

*~*~ Lauren Lundeen ~*~*