August Update: Community Conversations and Editors’ Reports

July was a very busy month for us at the TC Daily Planet and Twin Cities Media Alliance (see the reports below) but August is going to be pretty quiet. Our New Normal conversations will continue while we take a break from our other programming. But we will be back in action after Labor Day with a full schedule of  classes and workshops, a Happy Hour, brown bag with a journalist and more. Stay tuned for details.

Save this date: The New Normal: Deciding Community Priorities in a Downsized Economy is the Daily Planet’s year-long project of news stories and community conversations, funded by the Bush Foundation, devoted to finding solutions to new economic challenges in our communities. We’re tackling a different topic every month. The New Normal is also the topic of  TCMA’s 7th Annual Fall Media Forum, to be held Saturday, November 12 at the downtown Minneapolis branch of the Hennepin County Library:

 Inform, Connect, Organize: Media Tools for the New Normal

Budget cuts and a tough economy threaten many of the things that Minnesotans value most – the quality of our schools, the vitality of our neighborhoods, even our jobs and livelihoods. Our forum will focus  on the media tools and information resources that can help citizens, communities and businesses inform themselves, communicate and work together. More details coming soon.

Here’s project manager Lisa Peterson-de la Cueva’s report  on July’s New Normal conversations:

We debated how to fix a broken immigration system during last month’s New Normal conversations, and heard from about 80 American-born Minnesotans and immigrants from at least 17 countries. Check out out last month’simmigration articles, including “Following their dreams on Lake Street,” an article on undocumented students, and an account of the month’s conversations. Thanks to the Minnesota Literacy Council, the Wilder Foundation, Resource Center of the Americas/La Conexión, and Grove Christian Center for co-hosting the conversations. Next up, Transportation! Fired up about biking, walkability, or public transportation? How about potholes? Read Bruce Johansen’s article about Twin Cities transportation and join us for one of our transportation conversations in August.

  We’d love your help! If your organization would like to co-host a community conversation on transportation contact

Editors Reports: 

Daily Planet Editor Mary Turck reports:

In July, we finally got a big chunk of the information we asked Minneapolis Public Schools to deliver in February – AFTER we published two articles describing problematic contracts and problematic processes. The problem with all of the laws guaranteeing public access to information and transparency in government is that they don’t work if government bodies are allowed to ignore them – and our job as journalists is to shine the light on shady stories. Kudos, once again, to Sheila Regan for following the story. Our New Normal focus on immigration also stirred lots of attention, online and in well-attended real life discussions around the Twin Cities.

Arts Editor Jay Gabler reports:

I was just talking by phone with a Fringe producer from Massachusetts who’s never been to Minnesota, but when he heard I was with the Daily Planet, he exclaimed, “Oh! You have the Fringe Bloggers!” Word of our unparalleled Fringe Festival coverage has apparently spread nationwide, and this year it will be stronger than ever. Some of our Fringe bloggers were among the big crowd of contributors and friends who turned out at the Aster Cafe on July 28 for a Daily Planet training session and happy hour. We’re proud to have the best, most diverse arts coverage in the area—thanks to our dedicated citizen journalists, and to your continuing support.

You can support our work by donating to the Twin Cities Media Alliancethrough the donation website, (  If you prefer, you can send a check to TCMA, 2600 E. Franklin, suite #2, Minneapolis MN 55406.

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