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Minnesota smoking ban begins Monday

Both the St. Paul Pioneer Press and Minneapolis Star Tribune chose to run an Associated Press story serving as a sort of readers' guide to the statewide smoking ban, set to begin Oct. 1. There were a few unique facets of this story and its placement, namely that it was written in a question-and-answer format, and also that both major local papers opted to run this AP story instead of conducting its own coverage on this local event. First, the story's format lends itself to readers -- a fact that possibly has to do with why both papers selected this story instead of writing straight original news stories themselves. The story detailed where the smoking ban will be in effect, when, why and how readers might need to change habits and routines in order to comply with the new anti-tobacco regulations. Each outlet has covered the smoking ban from a "he said, she said" issue standpoint since talks began in Legislature, so this AP story served as a bit of a lighter departure from typical coverage. Still, though, it is interesting that neither paper organized a similar story itself. Perhaps original coverage of the ban is reserved for later in the week, in the form of reaction pieces after the ban is underway.