WSJ: “Newspapers need to act like they’re worth something”

This week, L. Gordon Crovitz of The Wall Street Journal wrote the opinion piece, ” Information Wants to Be Expensive: Newspapers need to act like they’re worth something.


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For years, Crovitz wrote, publishers and editors have asked the wrong question: Will people pay to access my newspaper content on the Web? The right question is: What kind of journalism can my staff produce that is different and valuable enough that people will pay for it online?

I’m interested in hearing what folks think of this essay. I’m not sure I agree with everything Mr. Crovitz writes. Haven’t most newspapers always been trying “valuable” content?

If independent writers in Northfield produced content that you valued more than that of a reporter employed by a company, would you be wiling to pay for that independent reporter to keep up his or her news beat?


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Filed under Business, National, Project discussion

Annexation agreement reached

Representatives from Northfield reached an an annexation agreement with Greenvale Township supervisors on Tuesday night. To find out more about this story, see the Representative Journalism Project reports on Original story posting, click here. Most recent posting on the matter, click here.


Photo by Bonnie Obremski Caption: On the left are Brian O'Connell, director of Northfield's Community Development Department (foreground) and Joel Walinski, Northfield's interim city administrator. At center is Edith Nelson, Greenvale Township clerk. On the right are Richard Moore, Greenvale Township supervisor chairman and Bernard Budin, township supervisor. Not shown on the far right is supervisor Robert Winter.


Photo by Bonnie Obremski Caption: Richard Moore, Greenvale Township supervisor chairman signs an annexation agreement with Northfield on Tuesday night at the Township Hall.


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Poll: American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009


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State Rep. David Bly passes on stimulus package information

When reporting the feature story about the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 featured today on LocallyGrownNorthfield, State Rep. David Bly sent me an email with following text files about the bill, which passed into law last night.



The basics of Local Government Aid: LGA promotes fair property taxation



Major Low-Income Housing Provisions of House and Senate Recovery Bills

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Recovery and Reinvestment Act may curb unemployment in Minnesota

As early as tomorrow the $789-billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 may be passed, leading to positive changes for Minnesotans and U.S. citizens nationwide (or not, depending on the perspective – added 2/14 1:15 p.m.). Today, I am calling up Northfield’s representatives and political experts to talk about how the act could directly influence our lives.

Congressman Jim Oberstar, who represents Minnesota’s eighth district, wrote about what the act could mean for the state on Tuesday in the Duluth News Tribune saying, “I want to see that bill on President Obama’s desk to be signed into law by Monday, Presidents Day. By June, that final stroke of the president’s pen will have men and women going to work building and maintaining roads and bridges, upgrading schools and modernizing public buildings.”

“In Minnesota, the department of transportation has a backlog of 200 shovel-ready road and bridge projects. This legislation will speed $477 million to the state to start work on those projects, creating nearly 17,000 jobs.”

“A recent economic analysis by Moody’s concluded that the recovery bill could put a total of 91,000 Minnesotans to work by 2010, holding the state’s unemployment rate down by nearly 2 percent.”

See Moody’s Report here.

Not everyone in Minnesota seems as optimistic as Oberstar, however. The Austin Post-Bulletin ran a story on Jan. 30 that questioned whether the act could actually lead to less funding for public schools.

“Fourteen area superintendents met with 1st District Rep. Tim Walz on Thursday to talk about the proposed “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act,” commonly referred to as the stimulus package. The education leaders were aware that the estimates are long from final.

Dover-Eyota Superintendent Bruce Klaehn said several people are worried that the Legislature will decrease education funding once the federal money is awarded.”

On the matter of federal funding of public schools, an article in the Sillwater Gazette offered a different perspective on Feb. 5.

“Buried in the $819 billion stimulus package approved by the U.S. House of Representatives last week is an estimated $2.75 million for special education programs and construction projects in District 834.

If the stimulus package is also approved by the U.S. Senate, local school officials said the additional federal funds would help the district absorb any budget shocks at the state level, where money remains tight.”


Filed under City Government, Economy, National

Agricultural Preservation vs. Industrial Development

Northfield’s citizens are trying to attract industrial developers to build upon farmland in an effort to boost the local economy, since industrial development can lead to higher tax revenue and more jobs. Still, not everyone is convinced that “paving paradise” is worth that potential boost.

The amount of agricultural land in Minnesota dropped by about 600,000 acres between 2002 and 2007, according to state census data. Is that loss something more people should care about?

That question is just one I intend to answer in my next in-depth story for the Representative Journalism Project.

I welcome my readers to help lead me to important information on this topic that will deepen all of our understanding.


Filed under Agriculture, Project progress

Opinion: ‘You can’t sell news by the slice’

Sam Friedman of the Carletonian student newspaper told me about this New York Times opinion piece during our bi-weekly journalism discussion at the Goodbye Blue Monday cafe this morning.

” Newspaper readers have never paid for the content (words and photos). What they have paid for is the paper that content is printed on,” author Michael Kinsley wrote.

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