That Explains Everything

Kate Parry is listed at the Strib’s “Reader’s Representative”. In her tenure at the Strib so far, that’s seemed to the unwashed masses to mean “Official Rationalizer” for everything the Strib does, right, wrong or absurd.

On Sunday morning, after a week where the Strib wiggled (so it claimed) away from charges of plagiarism, we found out what the problem was; “Reader’s Representative” means “propagandist”!

For instance, Sunday’s gauzy, soft-focus puffy on the Strib’s “Front Page Editor”.

Since July, [Colleen Stoxen] the 44-year-old North Dakota native has been the Star Tribune’s page one editor, a post short on the usual trappings of newsroom power: She has no staff and seldom has the final word on anything.

Yet, although dozens of hands will leave imprints on page one through the day, no one is more influential in determining what you will see there than Stoxen. Her considerable clout is wielded through acts of diplomacy and incisive observations injected throughout a marathon daily meeting regimen with key decisionmakers.

It’s hard out here for an editor. Sho nuff.

Of course, those “key decisionmakers” seem to be beyond Kate Parry’s keen analytical ken. For while we are now intimately aware of the life of the person who decides (or tries to decide) where the Pagemaker geeks will put things on Page One, we remain ignorant about the decisions about what goes in the stories, and who determines little things like editorial policy.

Who decided to go soft on Keith Ellison throughout the election, and why?

Who decided – as Rochelle Olson told us on the NARN before the election – that the fact that Alan Fine’s domestic abuse arrest never led to a charge didn’t warrant inclusion in the story Ms. Stoxen put on the front page? Even though the story was 32 column inches long, and included plenty of secondary facts that could have been pared down to make room for that simple fact?

Because while the anonymous efforts of the mass of mid-level functionaries that grind the paper out every day are fascinating mildly interesting, “reporting” on them really does nothing to “represent” the reader.

Answering hard questions about serious issues with more than a smug snark would be a start…

…but Parry’s had a couple of years of backing and filling and avoiding that job.

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