Paperboy delivers the day’s news in Minneapolis. (Minnesota Historical Society)
“Minnesota billionaire Glen Taylor expects to close on his purchase of the Star Tribune by the end of next month, fulfilling a goal he has had for years,” writes MPR News business reporter Marty Moylan.

It may not be too long before Taylor has a chance to buy another newspaper: the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

A number of industry watchers say the paper’s owners may soon put it up for sale, hoping to exit the newspaper business.

Taylor said he’d probably take a look. But before he made an offer he’d need to know the financial condition of the Pioneer Press and the potential for the Twin Cities to support two daily newspapers.

But there are other factors to consider, said Rick Edmonds, a media business analyst at the Poynter Institute.

“Assuming he were to buy it would he continue to operate it separately?” he said. “Would it be folded into the Star Tribune?”

Edmonds said there also could be anti-trust concerns arising from Taylor owning both papers. He said federal officials might block such as sale if it violates anti-trust laws enacted to prevent companies from obtaining a monopoly.

“Unfortunately for him or somebody in that position,” Edmonds said, “he can’t just call the Justice Department and ask, ‘Is this OK?’”

On the other hand, Edmonds points out even a dead newspaper has value – in its circulation and advertising lists, trucks, buildings and other assets.

If Taylor acquires the Star Tribune as expected, he could try to buy the Pioneer Press for its assets and shut it down, hoping to realize gains in circulation and ad revenue, Edmonds said.

Today’s Question: What if the Twin Cities became a one newspaper metro?

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Katherine Streeter for NPR

“It’s not just kids who are overdoing screen time. Parents are often just as guilty of spending too much time checking smartphones and e-mail — and the consequences for their children can be troubling,” writes NPR’s Patti Neighmond.

Dr. Jenny Radesky is a pediatrician specializing in child development. When she worked at a clinic in a high-tech savvy Seattle neighborhood, Radesky started noticing how often parents ignored their kids in favor of a mobile device. She remembers a mother placing her phone in the stroller between herself and the baby. “The baby was making faces and smiling at the mom,” Radesky says, “and the mom wasn’t picking up any of it; she was just watching a YouTube video.”

Radesky was so concerned she decided to study the behavior. After relocating to Boston Medical Center, she and two other researchers spent one summer observing 55 different groups of parents and young children eating at fast food restaurants. Many of the caregivers pulled out a mobile device right away, she says. “They looked at it, scrolled on it and typed for most of the meal, only putting it down intermittently.”

This was not a scientific study, Radesky is quick to point out. It was more like anthropological observation, complete with detailed field notes. Forty of the 55 parents used a mobile device during the meal, and many, she says, were more absorbed in the device than in the kids.

Radesky says that’s a big mistake, because face-to-face interactions are the primary way children learn. “They learn language, they learn about their own emotions, they learn how to regulate them,” she says. “They learn by watching us how to have a conversation, how to read other people’s facial expressions. And if that’s not happening, children are missing out on important development milestones.”

Today’s Question: Does smartphone use strain your relationships?

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The logo for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. (AP)

“A bill that would allow limited Sunday sales of alcohol in Minnesota is in jeopardy.

“Backers of a bill that would allow liquor stores to sell alcohol on Sundays have been rebuffed at the State Capitol for years. So this year, they considered it a victory that even a tiny Sunday sales provision was included in the overall liquor bill.

“The measure, which would allow craft beer taprooms to sell growlers (refillable containers that hold half a gallon) on Sundays, sailed through legislative committees. But the bill has stalled in the Senate Tax Committee. The roadblock? The powerful Teamsters Union,” writes MPR News reporter Tom Scheck.

Teamster’s Union political director Ed Reynoso said the union started lobbying against Sunday growler sales after he learned a company that distributes alcohol and employs members of the union suggested the law would allow them to reopen their labor contracts because of it. He said the union wants to avoid that because it could mean wages, benefits and work hours could all be back on the table.

“As soon as we had an employer raise the potential that they were going to ask for a reopener, I reached out to leadership, I reached out to the Senate Committee chair,” Reynoso said. “I notified them of our objections and our concerns.”

Reynoso said he showed the contracts to DFL leaders to highlight the importance of removing the Sunday growler sales provision from the bill. He declined to identify the business that requested the negotiations. (MPR News)

Today’s Question: Do the Teamsters have too much power at the Minnesota Capitol?

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Irrigation is the fastest growing use of groundwater, and an MPR News investigation broadcast this week chronicled how hundreds of farmers likely are pumping tens of thousands of gallons of water without DNR authorization or knowledge. The Minnesota Senate passed legislation on Tuesday that would allow state officials to penalize anyone who uses large amounts Read more