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MinnPost: Verdict: Balanced & Socially Responsible

December 8, 2009

MinnPost is a daily nonprofit journalism enterprise with a mission to provide “high-quality journalism for news-intense people who care about Minnesota.”  In the “About Us” section the editorial board found it necessary to underline that it focuses “sharply on that mission, and not get distracted by trying to be all things or serve all people”.

Mission – MinnPost.com features written, video and audio stories. According to their mission statement the site does not endorse candidates for office or publish unsigned editorials representing an institutional position.

The publication strives to create a business model for what might be called a socially responsible journalism with a funding from corporate sponsors, advertisers, and members who make annual donations.

The publication equally acknowledges its financial as well as editorial contributors. It encourages dialogue and donations.

Web look – The content seems to be updated daily. The web design is modest yet well organized. The web domain name is registered under Karl Pearson-Cater’s name who is the Director of Operations.

It has numerous news sections for politics, science and technology, health, national and international as well as business, sports and culture. It has a separate section for community members to have their say. It mainly concentrates on Minneapolis news   and yet manages to give an overall idea about national news and concerns. It has web sharing possibilities and allows reader participation.

Content – Advertising is clearly separated from the content. Articles are generally insightful with a number of identified quotes and what seem to be credible sources.

Accuracy – In one of their December 3rd issues, they gave an insightful look on Afghanistan insurgence. In a 1700+ words article, the publication’s staff writer, Sharon Schmickle wrote about the concerns surrounding President Obama’s decision on sending more troops to Afghanistan. The journalist used 4 local experts (Prof. John Radsan, who directs the National Security Forum at William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul., Ghafar Lakanwal, MultiCultural Development Center, former minister of agriculture in Afghanistan during the 1980s, Thomas Hanson, a former U.S. State Department Foreign Service officer who now works with the Minnesota International Center and several other local groups interested in world affairs.)to analyze the background of the US presence in Afghanistan, Soviet presence and its outcomes as well as looked at the issue of the particular number of troops being send to Afghanistan, who Obama was referring to when mentioning and addressing  “the people of Afghanistan” as well the factor of Pakistan.

It was an educating, quite balanced and thought provoking article. The publication stayed true to its mission – not only did it do a good reporting it also maintained local relevance of the national story by using strictly local experts, which was a nice touch to the story.

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