This is an associated press article which was reprinted on the minnesota public radio website. The article mentions briefly illustrates the status of smoking in Minnesota. Two Democrats and two Republicans are touting their "Freedom to Breathe Act" which would outlaw smoking in indoor workplaces and on public transportation. Their reasons include workplace safety, nonsmokiers' rights and public health. They don't just want to ban smoking they want everyone to quit statewide, "I want to change the environment in this state to discourage smoking in the first place," said GOP Sen. Steve Dille.
I think getting a balanced mix of stances on this hot issue was a challenge for the reporter. The article does well in this regard stating the case of the Governor and one bar owner. This is an AP story so its brevity is its strength. It is a sort of down and dirty synopsis of smoking debate.
For comparison purposes I used a very similar article that appeared in the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
http://www.twincities.com/mld/twincities/news/local/16406721.htm This article is much longer and goes more in depth. I believe the two writers did well in handling the challenge of a broad scope of opinions. Like the AP story the opinions of bar owners are relegated to the end of the story, but I believe these two reporters found a more eloquent source. They also note an interesting issue, that if a smoking ban can pass in Olmsted county, the home of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, then it should pass statewide.
"We are a medical community," said Kari Etrheim, a public health educator with the county, "and people do tend to look at Olmsted County in matters like this."
I pulled this quote directly from the story.
My opinion on these stories is that as a smoker I would like to see a story focusing more on the impact to bar owners, where the impact leads the story. Both of these stories leave the bar owners at the rear. I think they have salient points, especially that of Charles Senkler, owner of Fabulous Fern's in St. Paul and Oakie's Roadhouse in Oakdale. Who is mentioned in the St. Paul Pioneer Press article. I think the Pioneer Press article is packed with more information, and the AP story is a brief recap of the on-going situation. I can't fault either outlet for their stories, it is by design that they are written the way they are. The AP is often devoid of context because it is not meant for that it is meant for spot news, while local papers like the Pioneer Press usually focus more on context because they have the space and readers look to them for it.