Can the Twin Cities support two papers, Nick’s autism, disasters up close, the beauty of the mountain, and evaporating clouds of video.
The Monday Morning Rouser:
1) A ONE-NEWSPAPER TOWN?
Is it time to start the death watch for the Pioneer Press? The answer may come from Orange County, California. MinnPost’s John Reinan paints a scenario that has the St. Paul paper’s boss disposing of the local paper if it decides to pick up some heftier California papers. The Star Tribune, he figures, makes a logical buyer because it’s business isn’t so hot, either.
While the Star Tribune made a good showing in 2010, it’s off to a slow start in 2011, as my MinnPost colleague David Brauer has reported. That could strengthen the case for the federal Justice Department approval that would be required for any kind of merger or takeover.
Coincidentally, New York Times media columnist David Carr used the same guy’s reporting — Brauer’s — to paint a picture of good times at the Star Tribune in his Sunday column profile about the StarTribune’s local-boy publisher.
The reason the company had profits to share is that while ad revenue was down 9 percent in 2010, it was far less than the 15 percent that had been budgeted. According to David Brauer, who covers the paper for MinnPost, a local news site, the difference yielded more than $30 million in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization in 2010. And daily circulation has remained essentially flat even though the price of the daily newspaper was raised to 75 cents from 50 cents in May. The Sunday newspaper, which did not increase in price, has gone from a low of about 477,000 in September 2009 to 504,600 in September 2010, according to audit reports.
Can the Twin Cities continue to be a two-newspaper town? Would it matter to you? Discuss.
2) NICK’S AUTISM
Robert MacNeil makes his return to PBS tonight, thanks in part to his grandson, who is autistic. “I’ve been a reporter on and off for 50 years, but I’ve never brought my family into a story, until Nick, because he moves me deeply,” MacNeil says in the first of a six part series that airs on PBS tonight. “Also because I think his story can help people understand his form of autism and help me understand it better.”
3) DISASTERS UP CLOSE
This may be the most horrifying video of the tsunami in Japan yet.
Over the weekend, at least 22 people were killed by tornadoes. Over 40 people have died in tornadoes since Thursday. Just look at these images from the New York Times.
4) THE MOUNTAIN
How can a world that can be so ugly, also be so beautiful?
Filmmaker Terje Sorgjerd set up cameras on El Teide, the highest mountain in Spain, from April 4th to 11th. The object was to take a time-lapse video of the Milky Way. However, a sand storm blew in from the Sahara desert. Sorgjerd assumed his project had been ruined, but was pleased with the resulting video. (h/t: Neatorama)
5) EVAPORATING CLOUDS OF VIDEO
Colleague Julia Schrenkler alerts us to the disappearance of your videos from Google. Google Video is shutting down. They’ll no longer be available for playback after two weeks from Friday. You have until next month to download them.
Bonus: The new Twins ad.
This weekend saw the premiere of the film treatment of “Atlas Shrugged,” a book that many readers say was influential in their lives. Today’s Question: What single book was most influential in your life?
WHAT WE’RE DOING
Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: The debate over the debt ceiling. MPR’s Tom Crann is hosting today.
Second hour: A new production at the Penumbra Theater examines the significance of the Nat King Cole Show, one of the first network TV programs hosted by an African American, and the role its star played in the modern civil rights era.
Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: GOP Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch and DFL Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk recap the legislative work so far.
Second hour: MPR Bright Ideas series: Stephen Smith interviews Rev. Peg Chemberlin, president of the National Council of Churches.
Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: The road to foreclosure.
Second hour:Being black in Latin America.
All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) - With the rise of both farm income and concerns about federal deficits, congressional leaders say it is likely farm subsidies will get a haircut in the 2012 budget. MPR’s Mark Steil will assess the impact.