Citizen journalism article in the Strib disappoints

In Sunday’s Strib: Citizens Kane & Jane: Grass-roots “citizen journalism” is taking off in Minnesota’s online communities as moonlighters report on issues they say the mass media are missing. (See also the sidebar on Citizen Journalism resources.)

randy-salas Strib Cit J article

Okay, I admit it. If Locally Grown had been mentioned in this piece, I probably would’ve blogged it on Saturday night when Curt Benson first alerted me to it. But it’s irritating that the journalist, Randy Salas, completely missed:



  1. Nick Benson said:

    It’s better not to read articles that are about topics you actually know about… it’s always an exercise in frustration.

    May 6, 2008
  2. Mary Schier said:

    I had a similar reaction to this article. It seemed like Salas really down-played Northfield when it was evident from the information in the story that there is more going on here than anywhere else in the state.

    Northfield as a subject and you as a source, Griff, may be suffering from the been-there/done-that syndrome at the Strib. My first jobs were as a reporter and later city editor at the St. Cloud Times. We often tried very hard not to use the same sources over and over, even when they were the best sources. In retrospect, it seems silly, but newsroom leaders and individual reporters are extremely sensitive to criticism that they are playing favorites with sources–even when the only ones who might notice that are folks in the newsroom themselves. Also one reporter may not want to use a source another reporter has used. Journalists are strangely competitive in that way. Since you and your work with Locallygrown and were profiled in recent months and Northfield has been in the Strib many times over the past year, Salas may have deliberately decided to skim over Northfield. Too bad. He missed a good angle.

    May 6, 2008
  3. Jean Dallas said:

    Nor did this article mention the grassroots, community-driven, for-profit, news and information website and weekly paper, Hometown Focus, in Virginia, MN. I am the editor. Our website went live in January, and our premiere print edition was April 27.

    We have 90 content contributors to date, from 25 communities. We employ 11 people.

    15,000 copies of our first edition were distributed across the Iron Range. We offer it free for now, but will eventually be subscription-based, $29.95 for 52 issues. We have free classified and Help Wanted ads, free obituaries and free city council meeting minutes.

    Our print product is a tabloid format. The first issue was 48 pages; this weekend’s edition is 40 pages.

    It was met with resounding approval from readers. Our contributors send us news, stories, creative writing, photos, videos, recipes, etc. This week we are featuring our first piece of fiction, a short story title “The Death of Grandma Beatrice,” from a contributor in Angora, MN; a news story about the Minnesota Power wind turbine project on the Range; and a multitude of columns and commentary from local folks (just to name a fraction of the content).

    We accept submissions online. Visitors register, get a password, log in, and use our submission forms. All users of our interactive features must use their real first and last name (including article comments). We also accept submissions via email, snail mail, fax or drop-off for those without internet connections.

    All submissions are reviewed by staff before being posted to the website, and edited when necessary (often). We use reverse publishing (some content appears on the website prior to print), but there is a great deal of unique content in our paper.

    I encourage you to visit our website: And if you would like to subscribe, it’s $29.95: Hometown Focus, 401 6th Ave. N., Virginia, MN, 55792.

    Pray for us!

    May 7, 2008
  4. Griff Wigley said:

    Hmmm, maybe we need a print edition of Locally Grown! Somebody call Rob Schanilec!

    May 8, 2008

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