For years now we've been noticing with some alarm the gradual erosion of interest in city news coverage by our major media. Oh, sure, when there's a crisis at City Hall or a riot in Dinkytown or Jordan, the TV cameras and beat reporters will show up to chronicle the depths to which our metropolis has fallen. But gradually, almost imperceptibly, the story of the city is being lost. When the local newspaper of record refuses to send a reporter to cover a Park Board meeting, something is irretrievably lost. When the dominant weekly expends its plentiful resources to cover a presidential caucus in Iowa rather than a School Board meeting, it's sending an important message: The life of the city is somehow less important. Every time that happens our city's great narrative grows more hollow, more cliched, more irrelevant to its citizens. And that's important, because without that story our civic culture erodes. Citizens lose track of the context -- historical, political, cultural -- in which events occur and, as a result, are less able to understand the issues that come to affect their everyday lives.
Craig Cox, first managing editor of the Twin Cities Daily Planet, writing at the Minneapolis Observer, which he edits
Iggers left the daily Star Tribune in March 2007 to head the Twin Cities Media Alliance, which products a 24/7 online "wire service" of original and linked news from ethnic and small media.
The Twin Cities Daily Planet is a community newswire and syndication service, showcasing the best work of the neighborhood and community press, as well as work by Twin Cities independent journalists and the voices of engaged citizens. The Twin Cities Daily Planet is also conceived as an experiment in participatory journalism, built on a partnership between professional journalists and citizens. Collectively, the citizens of the Twin Cities have far more expertise and insight than can be found in any one newsroom. The premise of the TC Daily Planet is that new technologies are making it possible for these citizens to become more active and powerful participants in the news production process. One goal of the Daily Planet is to harness that community intelligence and enable citizens to share information and work together for the common good.
Funding: Our initial funding is a New Voices grant from J-Lab, the University of Maryland's Institute for Interactive Journalism. We anticipate that future funding will come from memberships, donations from individuals and foundations, and underwriting from sponsors.
The Twin Cities Media Alliance has applied for 501(c)3 status as a non-profit organization. Pending approval of our application, KFAI Radio is acting as our fiscal agent.
In 2005-2006, Craig Cox served as part-time managing editor of The Daily Planet. He is also editor/co-owner of the local community news site, The Minneapolis Observer.
The Minneapolis Observer