Podcast: Randy Jennings critiques Locally Grown; our ‘parents’ stop by to assess the damage

Our guest today was Randy Jennings, local citizen, long time Northfielder, and eloquent critic of Locally Grown. We mostly discussed his criticism of the recent controversial blog posts and comment threads about the 6/2 Council meeting and the CVB’s performance, with an occasional tangent about citizen journalism.

The Twins broadcast bumped us from our normal 5:30pm air time on KYMN and we used that as an excuse to do a full-hour show. (I have no idea when KYMN news director Jeff Johnson plans to air the show but probably sometime after 2 am, just to be safe.)

Morgan Weiland, Cameron Nordholm, Tracy Davis, Griff WigleyLater in the show we were joined by two Carleton College grads who were instrumental in the formation of Locally Grown’s radio show/podcast, Morgan Weiland and Cameron Nordholm. (We think of them as the parents of our show.) Morgan was KRLX news director and Cameron was KRLX station manager during the 2005-06 school year. Morgan is now a reporter in the health care division of BNA in Washington DC. Cameron is a digital producer with PBS Interactive in Arlington, VA.

Tracy and I (Ross headed out to celebrate his 25th wedding anniversary) took them out for a drink at the Cow after the show to try to explain why we’ve fallen so far down since they left town.

Click play to listen. 1 hour, 2 minutes. You can also subscribe to the podcast feed, or subscribe directly with iTunes.

Our radio show/podcast, Locally Grown, usually airs Wednesdays at 5:30 PM on KYMN 1080 AM.


  1. David Ludescher said:

    Griff, Ross, and Tracy: I trust that you know that Randy’s company charges big bucks to give the kind of advice he gave to you for free. I know that you guys give your time and energy to make this blog happen, and most people appreciate your efforts most of the time (yours truly included).

    My criticisms of LoGro are nearly identical to Randy’s. Follow his advice to keep it always civil and respectful, keep out the vigilante and gossip blogging, and focus on a good tone and tenor, and people will stop looking to LoGro as a source of the news, and readers will start viewing you as the arbiter of the news.

    June 14, 2008
  2. kiffi summa said:

    Griff: and Tracy: and Ross: Having been very upset with Griff’s refusal to allow my comment which included some sincere , serious questions of a philosophical/religious nature , I just now listened to your podcast with Randy Jennings .
    I didn’t take notes; I’m not trying to do a “gotcha”; and I have often stated it’s your thing, you can do what you want…

    But I think I remember you Griff, saying you wanted to allow/stimulate vigorous discussion, or vigorously opposing opinions, and yet it seems to me that if YOU determine that the discussion is not “vigorous”, but ?????, then you will not allow it to proceed.

    When I say a comment made was critical of an intrinsic part of my “self”, and I wanted to respond to it, but you would not allow me to do so, then you are not only disallowing my comment, but also disallowing the importance of that belief to me.
    So two people, you, and the one I disagreed with, are refusing to allow me
    to express a “vigorously” opposing opinion.

    Either way, the discussion is shut down. One person makes a comment that is deeply offensive, and the second does not allow a response. In my mind, the second person has been as dismissive of a serious part of “me” as the first person was.

    Hard to explain; I may not have done it very well.

    June 14, 2008
  3. David Henson said:

    Randy Jennings statement that the Northfield charter should not be discussed on this blog but only in meetings conducted by the league of women’s voters seems ultraconservative. The charter underlies Northfield’s whole civic process and I can’t imagine a topic more in need of a free exchange of ideas. A written discussion of the charter has many advantages: 1) it’s a detailed topic (about a written document) and can be more illuminating when handled in writing, 2) new ideas can flow freely on a blog with less of the emotion associated with individuals proclaiming themselves expert or the subject authority in a meeting setting.

    ‘Ethics’ used to prevent harming an individual, like Lee, are one thing but ‘ethics’ intended to protect “turf” are another. I take the idea that the charter is for all Northfield citizens therefore you shouldn’t discuss as both humerous and just politics.

    June 15, 2008
  4. Griff Wigley said:

    Kiffi, it’s never the content that I object to when I moderate a comment of yours. It’s the tone.

    June 16, 2008
  5. kiffi summa said:

    Griff: If “tone” bothers you then I think you would react to the direct challenge issued by one commenter to another with what I think is extreme dismissal and rudeness … I think you know the two examples I readily remember and am referring to… rather than what is a sincere and serious question.

    If you object , as your e-mail stated, to a qualifying adverb such as “constantly”, then I think you should look back through the referred to comments, and you would find that “constantly” is indeed used in a factual manner.

    However … your “bat and ball”.

    June 16, 2008
  6. Jerry Bilek said:

    excellent show. Randy, Morgan and Cameron offer some good advice.

    June 16, 2008
  7. Barb Kuhlman said:


    I haven’t had an opportunity to listen to the podcast. Would it be possible to post a brief summary of what you saw as the main points and your reaction to Randy’s points? Having been mostly a “lurker” and not always a consistent one, I wonder whether you have ever done a blog thread on the ethics of weblogging ala Locally Grown, the differing (I assume) philosophies of each of “the Triumvirate,” what you see as the goals and purposes, the benefits, as well what you see as difficulties, problems, etc. The recent thread concerning Mayor Lansing, and the recent interchange between two commenters on the Taste of Northfield thread (as well as comments in earlier threads) illustrate several things that bother me personally.

    June 20, 2008
  8. Griff Wigley said:

    Barb, I hate doing summaries of anything but I think the main outcome for me after this podcast is to lead the development of a code of ethics for Locally Grown that we have posted on our site.

    I’ve started reading up on the issue, using these resources as a starting point:


    A code of ethics might also include something about how we use anonymous resources. I mentioned on the show that I’d been reading this recent piece in the NYTimes:

    Culling the Anonymous Sources
    Published: June 8, 2008
    How The Times is doing in policing information with no name attached.

    June 23, 2008
  9. kiffi summa said:

    I would recommend studying the “development ” of the NFNews site as compared to this one ( LG) and then do NOT even contemplate, much less consider, allowing anonymous comments.
    The few times it has been allowed, for instance during the Heroin discussion, it was responsibly done.
    Other than for extreme privacy, or possible personal harm, there is no reason a person should not be responsible for what they say.

    June 23, 2008
  10. Griff Wigley said:

    Kiffi, I think you misunderstood me. I’m talking about a policy to help govern our use of anonymous sources in our blog posts, NOT about allowing anonymous comments to a discussion thread. We’ve no intention of changing our policy on the latter.

    June 23, 2008
  11. kiffi summa said:

    Yeah … read it too quickly. Whew! had me worried for a moment.

    June 23, 2008

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