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

This isn’t theoretical. A solution has to be found, and if we create a solution here we’ll be ushering daily journalism into a new era, and Minnesota will be watched by people who value an informed citizenry all over the country and around the world.

While newspapers around the country are dying, and 33 are in bankruptcy, the Star Tribune is still profitable, although its owners have saddled it with a huge debt. The paper is the 15th largest in the country by daily circulation, and 10th largest on Sunday, with 552,000 subscribers. The paper’s website,, averages 76 million page views a month, among the nation’s top 10.

And the paper has dedicated journalists eager to keep serving the community. Here’s what the Star Tribune journalists, members of the Newspaper Guild, are saying:

“We, the union-represented journalists who gather, analyze and present the Star Tribune every day, consider our jobs a civic duty. We want to continue to shine a light in dark places, let citizens know how their tax dollars are being spent, understand how our parks and natural resources are being cared for. We want to tell you about great restaurants, good music and interesting people. We want to help you discover great recipes, find fun travel adventures and the visit the latest art exhibits and theater shows. We stand ready to deliver news and information to Minnesotans in whatever format it takes to support professional journalism and the information and insight it provides our community.”

A great city needs great daily journalism. Together, let’s figure out how to bring high quality daily journalism into the new era of communications.

I’m a former Star Tribune reporter, a journalism teacher, blogger and communications coach who cares deeply about keeping journalism healthy. I’m volunteering to coordinate this search for new ideas. Please contact me at or 612-861-3943 if you put a team together, have an idea or have any questions.

Thanks, and let the creative process begin.

Bruce Benidt

P.S. Many people have been trying to dream up new models for newspapers, and there are many smart analyses about the state of newspapers today. The Newspaper Guild’s Twin Cities office can provide a great deal of background material to interested groups, and the journalists of the Guild have been exploring possible new models that might work in Minnesota – feel free to contact the Guild. Mike Bucsko is the Guild’s executive officer, and he’s reachable at or 612-789-0044.

Here are some resources to give you context:

Paul Farhi writes for the Washington Post and the American Journalism Review about the economic and technological forces behind the collapse of newspapers:

And here are three more good articles on newspapers’ future and alternatives, from Editor & Publisher and The Huffington Post:

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