Local sports columnist Patrick Reusse smells blood in the water at the Strib. His own:
As mentioned, I made the switch to the Star Tribune in June 1988, in the midst of a golden age for sports department budgets. If you had a story idea, you took five minutes to sell it to the boss, then got on a plane and reported it.
Even then, the backbone of this and any sports section was the coverage on the most important local beats. And in 2008, it's clear there is a greater appetite for in-depth news on our Big Five -- Vikings, Twins, Wild, Gophers football, Timberwolves -- than at any time previously.
When it comes to the section's backbone, this is the best crew I've worked with:
Kevin Seifert and Judd Zulgad are tireless on the Vikings. Joe Christensen and La Velle Neal are on top of the Twins. Mike Russo is the best hockey writer in the country. Chip Scoggins is irrepressible in covering Gophers football. Jerry Zgoda gave the readers a daily, non- hysterical look at a sad Wolves situation.
The public can take or leave another Reusse column after roughly 8,000 of them, But if the Minnesota sports addicts don't have Seifert, Zulgad, Christensen, Neal, Russo, Scoggins and Zgoda (to name a few) to get them the news, there will be a significant void.
And don't kid yourself:
A doesn't-cost-a-nickel, stand-alone Internet site is not going to have the quality of resources the Star Tribune has mustered for a rich sports section that lands on a doorstep.
FULL DISCLOSURE: I copied and pasted that from the internet.
I suspect that, barring some sweet new technology, enough people (like me) will be loathe to give up their morning broadsheets to keep them afloat. After all, I don't like hauling the laptop into the john with me when I have to poop.
But that said, when a paper is losing money - either from defections to online news sites or because they are frequently condescended to and insulted by the paper's editorial board - they're going to have to cut back on staff, resources and bankrolling Reusse's awesome story idea about that guy in Hawai'i who really hates the Packers anyway. And those online websites that are getting more eyeballs because of it can charge more for their ads, and thus garner more resources to allow for such expenditures.
Talented guys like Seifert, Neal and Zulgrad (I haven't read much of the others to form an opinion about them) will always be needed - and paid -by some news outlet. And you can bet those outlets will be willing to expense for good stories too. Reporting, commentary and the written word transcend the media they are affixed to. The only guys who really need to worry are the press operators and paper carriers.
And Reusse. There's no shortage of lame douchebags who insult Packer fans on the internet for free. I don't see how Reusse could draw a paycheck with that kind of competition.