Can the Star Tribune be Saved? A Call to Action from Bruce Benidt

Former Star Tribune reporter Bruce Benidt is circulating this call for action:

Hello friends of journalism in Minnesota,

We’re looking for creative solutions from an innovative, public-spirited community to keep a great daily newspaper viable in the electronic age. (Already have a creative idea? Scroll to bottom to find out what to do about it.)

With the Star Tribune in bankruptcy, and newspapers dying around the country, this community is in danger of losing what is by far its largest news organization. Most people would agree that robust professional daily journalism is an essential ingredient of a strong community.

There is something we can do about this. The 300 journalists who gather, analyze and present the news every day at the Star Tribune are inviting the community to help develop a new business and ownership model that will keep daily journalism working for Minnesota. The goal is to find new local ownership and a new business model that can keep the Star Tribune delivering news and entertainment in whatever format consumers choose.

So far, nobody in the country has solved the problem of how a newspaper can stay viable when so much of its content has been available free online. We think Minnesotans can find a solution. Minnesota has long been a center of innovation and entrepreneurial spirit and is a community that values citizen involvement, education and an informed public.

So, together, let’s figure out how to keep a great news resource. We think you may have the answers. Put together a team, discuss it over a beer at your local bar, blog about it, and contact me with your solutions.

We’re inviting community leaders, groups and individuals to come up with innovative approaches. We’re envisioning a creative ferment that bubbles up new ideas – for example:

  • A university business and journalism program joins with a group of entrepreneurs to develop a new approach to owning and running the business.
  • At the same time a collection of digital dreamers comes up with an elegant idea for keeping journalists’ feet on the streets while delivering the news in ways nobody’s conceived of yet.
  • And across town, a group of think-tank and non-profit leaders teams up with a business visionary to come up with a “eureka” moment that shows how this all can work.

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