Pioneer Press Providing Paltry Suburban Coverage

Brian Lambert has an interesting story about a guy that used to work on local Arts coverage who was transfered into covering suburban city council meetings at the Pioneer Press before finally taking a buy-out.

Unlike some suburban reporters Peiken says he actually drove around his area looking for something other than just cops and schools material. (Despite the urgency of their focus on the suburbs neither the Star Tribune or the Pioneer Press has anything resembling a bureau in any suburb. Suburban reporters mostly cover their beat by phone from their desks downtown.)

It didn’t work out so well for Peiken.

While I’m a city guy, I spend quite a few nights a year in Stillwater so get more than a few chances to read the Washington County edition (or whatever they call it) of the Pioneer Press and have to say that’s it’s pretty darn thin on content. If they don’t actually staff any reporters in the ‘burbs, I can understand why this would happen.

In Stillwater’s case, they have at least two city newspapers that do what the Pioneer Press is in no way capable of doing with their current staffing: put lots of names and pictures of local residents in the paper.

Maybe the Twin Cities dailies only have to provide a nod to suburban content to differentiate themselves from each other in a given market? What is the minimal amount of coverage needed to create the illusion of local coverage?

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