Sunday, February 14, 2010

KSTP Is The Slumlord Of Local News Media...

Photo and blog post by John Hoff

First and foremost, any of the North Minneapolis "movers and shakers" who've heard about the unfair, poisonous story promulgated tonight by KSTP should call this number: 612-588-6397. Press the option for the "news tip line." Tell KSTP how their decades of slanted, simplistic and unfair coverage of North Minneapolis has hurt our neighborhood to the point we need a rebranding effort...and now they are trying to sabotage that very effort, all while acting like they're doing us a favor by giving us coverage that mixes bad events with good.

Tonight's KSTP story is such deadly viral mind-poison that I actually won't repeat the contents of the story, except to say this: KSTP took a positive, successful event which happened in North Minneapolis and mixed THAT story with a tragic homicide on Dupont Avenue North. This story on KSTP was so awful that even individuals who NEVER SAW THE STORY were infuriated to learn its contents, and some folks have already been calling the station to complain.

Here's why KSTP is the slumlord of Local News Media...

First, like a slumlord, their stories are cheap, sloppy, and poorly constructed. But then throw in a certain predatory aspect. KSTP may do stories ABOUT North Minneapolis, but their target audience doesn't appear to BE North Minneapolis. Instead, they are speaking to an audience already primed to gasp and clutch their pearls with vicarious shocks and thrills as KSTP serves up yet another story of "North Minneapolis, the scary urban dystopia."

NEVER MIND how far we've come, the dramatic drops in crime, the incredible home ownership bargains waiting on virtually every block. NEVER MIND that our neighborhood is being completely remade, with Lavender Magazine naming North Minneapolis the top Twin Cities "gayborhood" two years running.

KSTP has found a market for scary stories about North Minneapolis. If North Minneapolis changes, how will KSTP continue to serve up its slop to this primed market? In this way, KSTP is very much like a slumlord who doesn't want tough portions of a neighborhood to change, because this is his bread-and-butter.

But tonight was a turning point. Tonight, on a snowy sidewalk--which is a quintessential public forum for free speech--KSTP heard an earful about what they are doing to our neighborhood. The story ran anyway, but KSTP gave up the idea of a live broadcast with pissed off residents of North Minneapolis standing right there on the same sidewalk. Their long antennae retracted and shriveled away like a wilting weed. Yes, the story ran anyway but about 30 seconds got shaved off, 30 seconds of carefully-crafted mental poison which KSTP was prepared to churn out into the mass consciousness. At 10:00 tonight, they will undoubtedly try to pull the same stunt again.

But, in the meantime, the word spreads and North Minneapolis reacts. Our progress is unstoppable and we will bounce back from this injury at the hands of KSTP, but in the meantime it would be good to remember this:

KSTP is no friend of North Minneapolis and has consistently screwed over our neighborhood. Tonight was the screw-de-la-screw. North Minneapolis movers and shakers would do well to remember what happened tonight when dealing or REFUSING TO DEAL with KSTP.

Better no story about North Minneapolis at all, than one which is screwed up to the point of being poison. Better to deal with Fox 9 or WCCO, but NOT KSTP.


Anonymous said...

Fuck KSTP.
They have always gravitated toward anything titillating and vapid.
Once they find it, they send their vacuous GQ pretty boys out to cover it.

Intelligent people do not watch KSTP to begin with.

Kevin said...

So what exactly was this story about? Just for the heck of it, I tuned in to KSPT this morning at 5:30 am and they were running a story about the North Mpls home tour this weekend. They mentioned the stabbing and interviewed a woman from St Paul who was looking at homes on the Northside. She spoke about her reluctance to even look on the Northside because of its reputation, but she also stated how surprised she was when she actually came here. All in all, her comments were very positive.

Was this a different story?

Anonymous said...

How DARE KSTP employ the tactics of Johnny Northside!
Too bad your ego is far larger than your audience.

Anonymous said...

This is the fourth homicide within about 100 yards of my house since I moved into my house. After the third one several years ago, KSTP sent a roving reporter out to get some color commentary.

Well, the reporter ran into me and another neighbor. He was obviously trying to get high emotion and indignation from us (presumably hysterical) females. When we were talking into the camara he was waving his arms around indicating "more."

Seriously. Funny.

Instead we talked about how, because of prior violent incidents, block clubs had been organized, the neighbors were more vigilient and things had actually improved over the last couple of years (notwithstanding the homicide the reporter was there to cover).

There was no story aired by KSTP with the footage they took of me and my neighbor, as far as we could ever determine.

As the saying goes, no news is good news, I guess.


The Hawthorne Hawkman said...

@ Anon 7:43 - I think you've got yourself a decent point. John Hoff has, from day one, said that we need to "market and romanticize the struggle" instead of shying away from it or pretending something is different than what it is.

I spoke with a producer last night about this issue. To their credit, they did have a dilemma. The Get to NoMi home tour was a huge success, but yet there was a homicide as well. What to do?

Furthermore, even a cursory glance of JNS today will show that the video footage of "Get to NoMi Day" and the incident at 3823 Dupont are right next to each other.

Here's the key difference: TWO DIFFERENT STORIES. Here on JNS, we didn't do one article/post titled, "Get to NoMi in spite of the homicide!"

Admittedly, I have only second-hand accounts of the 5:30 footage and have yet to see what they did for the 10:00 news after hearing from a furious community. But I'm told they attributed one quote incorrectly and jumbled these two things together. And KSTP has a history of coming to NoMi only for the negatively sensational stories.

If they had run a short piece on both the home tour and the stabbing but at different times in the broadcast, that would have been far better. KSTP has shown a pattern of negative, inaccurate, or lazy reporting that has been harmful to our neighborhood and that needs to stop.

Shaun said...

I, too, have had negative feelings towards KSTP for years. However, the video shown on their website at this moment (11:10 on 2/15/10) spins the message in the right direction. As a NOMI resident for two years I, like many of my neighbors, have been in that conversation about where we live when you see the rolling of the eyes. The perception is already out there...this we know. This story spoke to that perception and the reality that still continues. There is still crap going on in these neighborhoods. Had that story run without a sense of the crime that still exists here, all you would have had would be uninformed people making their usual judgments on the situation in North. We have to have a thicker skin as NOMI residents and continue to promote our neighborhoods as we clean them up. Pretending there is no crime here or hiding it in another part of the news does us no good. Call it for what it is...a work in progress. And we are looking for good people to join us in the fight.

veg*nation said...

the biggest problem that i have with all the local mainstream media is that they so clearly target all their news toward an AUDIENCE of outer ring suburbanites--if North (or, for that matter, South) Minneapolitans were their target audience, for instance, i don't think that local tv broadcasts would devote massive amounts of their airtime to worshipping at the altar of the traffic report.

in this scenario, North Minneapolitans are there to provide wacky news stories. frankly, i found the intro to even the "positive" nomi home tour story unnecessarily smirky.

maybe we should start reporting on the shockingly crazy amounts of time that suburbanites spend in traffic, getting man-on-the-street reactions from shocked and horrified NoMi residents every time there's a pile up on the interstate, or gas prices go up.

the interviews would then have to be framed with a couple of smirking NoMi residents bantering wittily about "to each his own"!

CMarie said...

Here is a link to the story & video

I hope that works, but yes, it is sad they had to include a murder story with the NOMI home tour,
they have to keep talking about the murder here and there, but overall the woman they interviewed and Joel from the NOMI organization said some great things that made the report more positive about NOMI. Towards the end of the report, I felt as though they tried to make it more positive.
I attended the NOMI home tour, and overall seemed like a very successful event. All of the realtors at each house we toured kept saying how impressed they were with the turnout and how great they thought the NOMI organization was.
I bought my home in NOMI one year ago, and it is sad that you have to deal with people's negative impression of NOMI, but I love NOMI, and I love showing people the different side and changing their impression. It is obvious that the folks at KSTP are sheltered suburbanites, so yes, they don't realize that their negative report on a positive event undoes a lot of the work that NOMI has put forward to make our neighborhood better. Idiots!

Anonymous said...

I saw the story at 10 pm last night. I don't think it came across nearly as negative as I am hearing from people on this blog. Maybe I was watching a different story.

I think the story was pretty accurate. The crime up here in NoMi, but the neighborhood struggles to turn things around.

Johnny Northside said...

I believe the 10 pm broadcast was somewhat revised after the 5:30 broadcast. People called in to complain, and there was the very interesting "free speech on a public sidewalk" discussion with the camera crew getting ready to do a live stand up in front of the stabbing house and then, gee, lead in to video about the successful home tour to "contrast" the two.

The individuals who were interviewed as part of the house tour story had NO IDEA the story was actually leading with a homicide. It was, in effect, a homicide story with a home tour angle! Do you imagine any one of these individuals would have agreed to be interviewed if they knew it was a story about a HOMICIDE?

That's why the story is unethical, sloppy journalism which needed to be called out. I doubt if Joel Breggeman (sp) or Stephanie Gruver would have willingly sat down for an interview, knowing the lead of the story was going to be ABOUT A RECENT HOMICIDE and then lead into the story about the home tour.

That's why I believe Joel and Stephanie--both of them or either of them--should file a formal complaint with the Minnesota News Council. That's why other individuals are so PISSED. They sat down for one kind of story and then KSTP spun it another way in a sloppy, sensationalist manner, tainting and distorting the story of the home tour.

Furthermore, in the future it would be best to avoid or minimize dealings with KSTP and go straight to WCCO and Fox9. KSTP has shown us their true slumlords who need our neighborhood to remain a steady source of "if it bleeds it leads" stories about crime, instead of positive stories which just aren't as exciting to the "gasp and clutch your pearls" crowd in the outer suburbs; their apparent target audience.

Pond-dragon said...

A different approach on (crime) perceptions:
There are ~ 493 traffic fatalities in Mn. Yearly (2007 numbers) of those 175 are fatalities associated with drunk drivers. The probability of getting killed in one of these accidents in suburban/rural Minnesota is ~ 1/62, the probability in the Urban areas is ~1/337 (Star & Trib~ 1/24/2010). The point being, there are far more (random selection) fatalities/killings associated with drunk driving than shooting/stabbing killings, you are in far more danger of being randomly killed driving your car in a suburb that walking down a street in NoMi.

From some perspectives driving down a suburban street past multiple locations where someone was torn life from limb in a DWI accident is not a Suburban safety issue, but, on the "rare" occasion driving past a house in NoMi land where a family dispute results in a family death, is cause for grave concern.

We can all frame things to suit our purposes, and the attractiveness of the suit as with most things is in the eye of the beholder.

Nikki said...

Johnny Northside, this is another great post. You are absolutely right. Thanks and keep it up.